Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

Full text of "Captain Canot, or, Twenty years of an African slaver :"

See other formats


^"^^^-^^-^^ 


^^  ^^^^^^^^ 


Digitized  by  the  Internet  Archive 
in  2013 


http://archive.org/details/captaincanotortw01cano 


PARKYNS'  ADVENTURES  IN  ABYSSINIA 
D.  APPLETON  &  COMPANY,  346  <fe  348  Broadway 

HAVE   JUST  PUBLISHED 

LIFE  IN  ABYSSINIA, 

Being:  the  Personal  Narrative  of  an  Englishman,  a  long  resident  in  that 

Country. 

By  MANSFIELD  PARKYNS,  Esq. 

With  Illustrations.     2  vols.  l2mo.     Price,  82  50.     Cloth. 


LITERARY  CRITICISMS. 


"  Of  one  thing  we  are  convinced,  and  that  is,  that  few  that  take  up  "  Life  in 
Abyssinia,"  will  lay  it  down  without  reading  it  through,  and  without  exclaiming 
when  they  come  to  the  end  "  what  an  amusing  book  this  is,  and  what  an  agreeable 
savage  is  Mansfield  Parkyns." — Blackwood's  Magazine. 

"  Since  the  appearance  of  "  Typee  and  Omoo,"  we  have  seen  no  more  agreeable 
volumes  of  travel  than  those  of  Mr.  Parkyns."— ^i-«.  Post. 

"Mr.  Mansfield  Parkyns  is  no  tourist,  but  a  genuine  traveller.  In  acquaintance 
with  Eastern  languages  and  manners  he  is  a  Buckhardt ;  his  liking  for  Natural  History 
and  assiduity  as  a  collector,  reminds  us  of  Waterton ;  while  in  his  passion  for  the 
chase,  and  occasional  introduction  of  elephants,  giraffes,  and  lions,  he  bears  an  obvious 
likeness  to  Campbell  or  Gordon  Camming."— Z>«^y^m  Magazine. 

"Remarkably  entertaining  and  interesting  volumes,  brimfull  of  adventures  and 
life.  We  have  read  them  with  perfect  gusto,  and  cordially  join  "Blackwood's  recom- 
mendation."— Boston  Atlas. 

"A  story  of  three  years  in  Abyssinian  life,  by  one  so  keen  in  observation  and  fond 
of  adventure  as  Mr.  Parkyns  could  not  but  promise  a  great  attraction ;  and  no  one 
who  opens  this  book  will  lay  it  down  in  disappointment  lie  sketches  the  incidents 
of  his  travels  with  great  distinctness  and  vividness  and  portrays  character,  wherever 
he  meets  it,  capitally." — 2^.  Y.  Courier. 

"Tho  author  appears  to  have  become  thoroughly  naturalized  among  the  singular 
people  with  whom  it  was  his  lot  to  dwell,  and  tells  the  story  of  his  adventures  with  a 
liveliness  and  freedom  from  reserve  that  are  extremely  captivating." — Joxir.  of  Com. 

"Dullness  certainly  has  no  share  in  Mr.  Parkyns'  composition — it  is  a  cajital 
book."— 17^,  S.  Gazette. 

"This  is  no  ordinary  production."— J Z6any  Argtis. 

•'  Attractive  as  a  romance  while  they  have  the  merit  of  usefulness." — Boston  Conr. 

"  The  most  interdsting  book  of  travel  issued  from  the  press  in  many  years."— P/tt7<i. 
Courier. 

"  In  every  respect  the  volumes  are  truly  attractive."— -4m€rzcan  Courier. 

"  "We  have  been  highly  amused,  and,  we  must  say,  instructed,  in  the  perusal  of  Mr. 
Parkyn's  adventures."— ^wjfaio  Democrat. 

"  We  do  not  hesitate  to  commend  the  book  to  our  readers— it  will  amply  repay 
their  attention."— Zfar^/orti  Times. 

"  The  work  fulfils  all  the  author  promises."- CAri^ton  Register. 

"To  all  who  aro  in  any  kind  of  trouble  from  hot  weather,  bad  temper,  unpaid  bills, 
and  the  like  annoyances,  we  would  recommend  this  book."— Prorirfcnce  Journal. 

"  The  style  is  pleasant  and  many  of  the  incidents  are  piquant  and  startling."— i?.H7t<;,'j 
t€r  American. 

"  Theee  are  two  delightful  volumes  of  travel,  fresh,  racy  and  glowing  with  life."- 
Com.  Advertiser. 


D.  APPLETON  f  CO:S  PUBLICATIONS. 

CAPT.  FOOTE'S  NEW  AND  HIGHLY  INTERESTING  WORK. 


Africa  and  the  American   Flag. 

BY  COMMANDER  ANDREW  H.  FOOTE, 

Lieut.  Commanding  U.  S.  Brig  "  Perry ^"^  on  the  Coast  of  Africa, 
A.  D.  1850-51. 

ILLUSTRATED  WITH  HANDSOMELY  TINTED  LITHOGRAPHIC  PLATES. 

One  Volume,  12mo.  379  pages.     Price  $1  50. 


CONTENTS. 
Discoveries  by  French  and  Portuguese  along  the  Coast— Slave  Trade  Systematized 
— "  Horrors  of  the  Middle  Passage" — African  Nations — Formation  of  the  American 
Colonization  Society— Disposal  of  Recaptured  Slaves  by  the  American  Government— 
The  Commonwealth  of  Liberia— Thos.  H.  Buchanan— Use  of  the  American  Flag  in 
the  Slave  Trade— Slavers  at  Bassa— Expedition  against  them— Conflict- Death  of  King 
Bentrerai — Expedition  of  Buchanan  against  Gaytinuba — Death  of  Buchanan — His 
Character — Condition  of  Liberia  as  a  Nation — Aspect  of  Liberia  to  a  Visitor — Condition 
of  the  People  compared  with  that  of  their  race  in  the  United  States— Schools — Condi- 
tion of  Slaves  on  board  of  the  Slave  Vessels- Capture  of  the  Slave  Barque  Pons— Affair 
with  the  Natives  near  Palmas — Cruise  of  the  "  Perry'' — Abuse  of  the  American  Flag — 
An  Arrangement  made  with  the  British  Commodore  for  the  Joint  Cruising  of  the 
•' Perry"  and  Steamer  "  Cyclops"— Capture  of  the  American  Slave  Ship  "Martha" — 
Claims  to  Brazilian  Nationality — Letters  found  on  board  illustrative  of  the  Slave  Trade 
— St  Helena — Appearance  of  the  Island — Island  of  Madeira — Interference  of  the  British 
Consul  with  the  "  Louisa  Benton"— Necessity  of  Squadrons  for  Protection  of  Com- 
merce and  Citizens  Abroad. 

This  very  interesting  volume  makes  us  acquainted  with  very  im- 
portant facts  connected  with  the  efforts  of  the  American  Government 
to  suppress  the  Slave  Trade  on  the  Coast  of  Africa.  Lieut.  Foote  not 
only  places  before  us  a  record  of  what  occurred  whilst  he  was  in  com- 
mand of  the  U.  S.  Brig  "  Perry,"  but  gives  us  an  account  of  the  History 
and  Government  of  the  African  Race — their  Manners  and  Customs,  an 
Account  of  the  Establishment  of  the  Commonwealth  of  Liberia,  its 
Condition,  Prospects,  &c.,  &c.  It  abounds  with  every  variety  of  inci- 
dent and  adventure,  and  will,  from  the  very  novelty  of  the  subject, 
have  a  wide  sale.  In  order  that  some  idea  may  be  formed  of  the  cha- 
racter of  the  work,  a  selection  from  the  table  of  contents  is  prefixed. 


MANDlNCxO    CHIEF    AND    HIS    SWORD    BEARER. 


Enteeed,  according  to  Act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  1354,  by 

BEANTZ  MAYEE, 

in  the  Clerk's  Office  of  the  United  States  District  Court  for  the  District  of  Maryland. 


TO 


N.    P.   AVILLIS, 

OF  IDLEWILD. 


My  Dear  Willis, 

While  inscribing  this  work  with  your  name,  as  a  testimonial 
of  our  long,  unbroken  friendship,  you  will  let  me  say,  I  am  sure, 
not  only  how,  but  why  I  have  written  it. 

About  a  year  ago  I  was  introduced  to  its  hero,  by  Dr.  James 
Hall,  the  distinguished  founder  and  first  governor  of  our  colony 
at  Cape  Palmas.  While  busy  with  his  noble  task  in  Africa, 
Dr.  Hall  accidentally  became  acquainted  with  Captain  Canot, 
during  his  residence  at  Cape  Mount,  and  was  greatly  impressed 
in  his  favor  by  the  accounts  of  all  who  knew  him.  Indeed, — 
setting  aside  his  career  as  a  slaver, — Dr.  Hall's  observation 
convinced  him  that  Canot  was  a  man  of  unquestionable  integrity. 
The  zeal,  moreover,  with  which  he  embraced  the  first  oppor- 
tunity, after  his  downfall,  to  mend  his  fortunes  by  honorable 
industry  in  South  America,  entitled  him  to  respectful  confidence. 
As  their  acquaintance  ripened,  my  friend  gradually  drew  from 
the  wanderer  the  story  of  his  adventurous  life,  and  so  striking 
were  its  incidents,  so  true  its  delineations  of  African  character, 


IV 

that  he  advised  the  captain  to  prepare  a  copious  memorandum, 
■which  I  should  write  out  for  the  public. 

Let  me  tell  you  why  I  undertook  this  task ;  but  first,  let  me 
assure  you  that,  entertaining  as  the  story  might  have  been  for  a 
large  class  of  readers,  I  would  not  have  composed  a  line  for  the 
mere  gratification  of  scandalous  curiosity.  My  conversations 
with  Canot  satisfied  me  that  his  disclosures  were  more  tho- 
roughly candid  than  those  of  any  one  who  has  hitherto  related 
his  connection  with  the  traffic.  I  thought  that  the  evidence  of 
one  who,  for  twenty  years,  played  the  chief  part  in  such  a  drama, 
was  of  value  to  society,  which  is  making  up  its  mind,  not  only 
about  a  great  political  and  domestic  problem,  but  as  to  the  na- 
ture of  the  race  itself.  I  thought  that  a  true  picture  of  aborigi- 
nal Africa, — unstirred  by  progress, — unmodified  by  reflected 
civilization, — full  of  the  barbarism  that  blood  and  tradition  have 
handed  down  from  the  beginning,  and  embalmed  in  its  prejudices, 
like  the  corpses  of  Egypt, — could  not  fail  to  be  of  incalculable 
importance  to  philanthropists  who  regard  no  people  as  beyond 
the  reach  of  enlightenment. 

The  completed  task  rises  before  me  like  a  moving  panorama 
whose  scenery  and  background  are  the  ocean  and  tropics,  and 
whose  principal  actor  combines  the  astuteness  of  Fouche  with 
the  dexterity  of  Gil  Bias.  I  have  endeavored  to  set  forth 
his  story  as  plainly  as  possible,  letting  events  instead  of  de- 
scriptions develope  a  chequered  life  which  was  incessantly  con- 
nected with  desperate  men  of  both  colors.  As  he  unmasked  his 
whole  career,  and  gave  me  leave  to  use  the  incidents,  I  have  not 
dared  to  hide  what  the  actor  himself  displayed  no  wish  to  con- 
ceal. Besides  the  sketches  of  character  which  familiarize  us 
with  the  aboriginal  negro  in  Africa,  there  is  a  good  moral  in  the 
resultless  life,  which,  after  all  its  toils,  hazards,  and  successes, 
leaves  the  adventurer  a  stranded  wreck  in  the  prime  of  man- 


hood.  One  half  the  natural  capacity,  employed  industriously  in 
lawful  commerce,  would  have  made  the  captain  comfortable  and 
independent.  Nor  is  there  much  to  attract  in  the  singular  ab- 
negation of  civilized  happiness  in  a  slaver's  career.  We  may  not 
be  surprised,  that  such  an  animal  as  Da  Souza,  who  is  portrayed 
in  these  pages,  should  revel  in  the  sensualities  of  Dahomey  ;  but 
we  must  wonder  at  the  passive  endurance  that  could  chain  a  su- 
perior order  of  man,  like  Don  Pedro  Blanco,  for  fifteen  un- 
broken years,  to  his  pestilential  hermitage,  till  the  avaricious 
anchorite  went  forth  from  the  marshes  of  Gallinas,  laden  with 
gold.  I  do  not  think  this  story  is  likely  to  seduce  or  educate  a 
race  of  slavers  ! 

The  frankness  of  Canot's  disclosures  may  surprise  the  more 
reserved  and  timid  classes  of  society ;  but  I  am  of  opinion  that 
there  is  an  ethnographic  value  in  the  account  of  his  visit  to  the 
Mandingoes  and  Fullahs,  and  especially  in  his  narrative  of  the 
wars,  jugglery,  cruelty,  superstition,  and  crime,  by  which  one 
sixth  of  Africa  subjects  the  remaining  five  sixths  to  servitude. 

As  the  reader  peruses  these  characteristic  anecdotes,  he  will 
ask  himself  how, — in  the  progress  of  mankind, — such  a  people 
is  to  be  approached  and  dealt  with  ?  Will  the  Mahometanism 
of  the  North  which  is  winning  its  way  southward,  and  infusing  it- 
self among  the  crowds  of  central  Africa,  so  as,  in  some  degree,  to 
modify  their  barbarism,  prepare  the  primitive  tribes  to  receive 
a  civilization  and  faith  which  are  as  true  as  they  are  divine  ? 
Will  our  colonial  fringe  spread  its  fibres  from  the  coast  to  the 
interior,  and,  like  veins  of  refreshing  blood,  pour  new  currents 
into  the  mummy's  heart  ?  Is  there  hope  for  a  nation  which,  iu 
three  thousand  years,  has  hardly  turned  in  its  sleep  ?  The  iden- 
tical types  of  race,  servitude,  occupation,  and  character  that  are 
now  extant  in  Africa,  may  be  found  on  the  Egyptian  monuments 
built  forty  centuries  ago ;  while  a  Latin  poem,  attributed  to  Vir- 


VI 

gil,  describes  a  menial  negress  who  might  unquestionably  pass 
for  a  slave  of  our  Southern  plantations  : 

"  Interdum  clamat  Cybalen  ;  erat  unica  custos  ; 
Afra  genus,  tota  patriam  testante  figura ; 
Torta  comam,  labroque  lumens,  et  fusca  colorem ; 
Pectore  lata,  jacens  mammis,  compressior  alvo, 
Cruribus  exilis,  spatiosa  prodiga  planta ; 
Continuis  rimis  calcanea  scissa  rigebant."* 

It  will  be  seen  from  these  hints  that  our  memoir  has  nothing 
to  do  with  slavery  as  a  North  American  institution,  except  so  far 
as  it  is  an  inheritance  from  the  system  it  describes  ;  yet,  in  pro- 
portion as  the  details  exhibit  an  innate  or  acquired  inferiority  of 
the  negro  race  in  its  oivn  land^  they  must  appeal  to  every  gen- 
erous heart  in  behalf  of  the  benighted  continent. 

It  has  lately  become  common  to  assert  that  Providence  per- 
mits an  exodus  through  slavery^  in  order  that  the  liberated 
negro  may  in  time  return,  and,  with  foreign  acquirements,  be- 
come the  pioneer  of  African  civilization.  It  is  attempted  to 
reconcile  us  to  this  "  good  from  evil,"  by  stopping  inquiry  with 
the  "  inscrutability  of  God's  ways  !  "  But  we  should  not  suffer 
ourselves  to  be  deceived  by  such  imaginary  irreverence  ;  for,  in 
God's  ways,  there  is  nothing  less  inscrutable  than  his  law  of  right. 
That  law  is  never  qualified  in  this  world.  It  moves  with  the 
irresistible  certainty  of  organized  nature,  and,  while  it  makes 
man  free,  in  order  that  his  responsibility  may  be  unquestionable, 
it  leaves  mercy,  even,  for  the  judgment  hereafter.  Such  a  sys- 
tem of  divine  law  can  never  palliate  the  African  slave  trade^ 
and,  in  fact,  it  is  the  basis  of  that  human  legislation  which  con- 
verts the  slaver  into  a  pirate,  and  awards  him  a  felon's  doom. 

For  these  reasons,  we  should  discountenance  schemes  like 
those  proposed  not  long  ago  in  England,  and  sanctioned  by  the 

*  MoRETUM, — Carm.  Virg.  "Wagner's  ed.  vol.  4,  p.  301. 


Vll 

British  government,  for  the  encouragement  of  spontaneous  emi- 
gration from  Africa  under  the  charge  of  contractors.  The  plan 
was  viewed  with  fear  by  the  colonial  authorities,  and  President 
Roberts  at  once  issued  a  proclamation  to  guard  the  natives. 
No  one,  I  think,  will  read  this  book  without  a  conviction  that 
the  idea  of  voluntary  expatriation  has  not  dawned  on  the  Afri- 
can mind,  and,  consequently,  what  might  begin  in  laudable 
philanthropy  would  be  likely  to  end  in  practical  servitude. 

Intercourse,  trade,  and  colonization,  in  slow  but  steadfast 
growth,  are  the  providences  intrusted  to  us  for  the  noble  task 
of  civilization.  They  who  are  practically  acquainted  with  the 
colored  race  of  our  country,  have  long  believed  that  gradual  colo- 
nization was  the  only  remedy  for  Africa  as  well  as  America. 
The  repugnance  of  the  free  blacks  to  emigration  from  our 
shares  has  produced  a  tardy  movement,  and  tlhis  the  African 
population  has  been  thrown  back  grain  by  grain,  and  not  wave 
by  wave.  Every  one  conversant  with  the  state  of  our  colonies, 
knows  how  beneficial  this  languid  accretion  has  been.  It  moved 
many  of  the  most  enterprising,  thrifty,  and  independent.  It 
established  a  social  nucleus  from  the  best  classes  of  American 
colored  people.  Like  human  growth,  it  allowed  the  frame 
to  mature  in  muscular  solidity.  It  gave  immigrants  time  to 
test  the  climate  ;  to  learn  the  habit  of  government  in  states  as 
well  as  in  families ;  to  acquire  the  bearing  of  freemen  ;  to  aban- 
don their  imitation  of  the  whites  among  whom  they  had  lived  : 
and  thus,  by  degrees,  to  consolidate  a  social  and  political  system 
which  may  expand  into  independent  and  lasting  nationality. 
Instead,  therefore,  of  lamenting  the  slowness  with  which  the  col- 
onies have  reached  their  vigorous  promise,  we  should  consider 
it  a  blessing  that  the  vicious  did  not  rush  forth  in  turbulent 
crowds  with  the  worthy,  and  impede  the  movements  of  better 
folks,  who  were  still  unused  to  the  task  of  self-reliance. 


Vlll 

Men  are  often  too  much  in  a  hurry  to  do  good,  and  mar  by 
excessive  zeal  what  patience  would  complete.  "  Deus  quies  quia 
aeternus,"  saith  St.  Augustine.  The  cypress  is  a  thousand  years 
in  growth,  yet  its  limbs  touch  not  the  clouds,  save  on  a  moun- 
tain top.  Shall  the  regeneration  of  a  continent  be  quicker  than 
its  ripening  ?     That  would  be  miracle — not  progress. 

Accept  this  oifering,  my  dear  Willis,  as  a  token  of  that  sin- 
cere regard,  which,  during  an  intimacy  of  a  quarter  of  a  cen- 
tury, has  never  wavered  in  its  friendly  trust. 

Faithfully,  yours, 

Brantz  Mayer. 
Baltimore,  1st  Jtdy,  1854. 


CONTENTS 


PACK 

CHAP.  I.~My  parentage  and  education— Apprenticed  at  Leghorn  to  an  American 
captain— First  voyage— its  mishaps — overboard— black  cook— Sumatra— cabin  boy 
—Arrival  in  Boston— My  first  command — View  of  Boston  harbor  from  the  mast- 
head—My first  interview  with  a  Boston  merchant,  William  Gray        ...        1 

CHAP.  II.— My  uncle  tells  my  adventure  with  Lord  Btrok— Captain  Towne,  and 
my  life  in  Salem— My  skill  in  Latin— Five  years  voyaging  from  Salem— I  rescue 
a  Malay  girl  at  Qualiahbattoo — The  Jirat  slave  I  ever  saw— End  of  my  apprentice- 
ship—My  backslid ings  in  Antwerp  and  Paris— Ship  on  a  British  vessel  for  Brazil 
—The  captain  and  his  wife— Love  grog,  and  grumbling— A  scene  in  the  harbor  of 
Eio — Matrimonial  happiness — Voyage  to  Europe — "Wreck  and  loss  on  the  coast 
near  Ostend 10 

CHAP.  III.— I  design  going  to  South  America— A  Dutch  galliot  for  Havana- Male 
and  female  captain— Run  foul  of  in  the  Bay  of  Biscay — Put  into  Ferrol,  in  Spain — 
I  am  appropriated  by  a  new  mother,  grandmother,  and  sisters— A  comic  scene- 
How  I  got  out  of  the  scrape — Set  sail  for  Havana — Jealousy  of  the  captain— De- 
prived of  my  post — Restored — Refuse  to  do  duty — Its  sad  consequences — Wrecked 
on  a  reef  near  Cuba — Fisherman-wreckers — Ofi"er  to  land  cargo — Make  a  bargain 
with  our  salvors— A  sad  denouement— A  night  bath  and  escape      ....      19 

CHAP.  IV.— Bury  my  body  in  the  sand  to  escape  the  insects- Night  of  horror— Re- 
fuge on  a  tree— Scented  by  bloodhounds— March  to  the  rancho— My  guard— Argu- 
ment about  my  fate— "My  Uncle"'  Rafael  suddenly  appears  on  the  scene — 
Magic  change  effected  by  my  relationship — Clothed,  and  fed,  and  comforted — I 
find  an  uncle,  and  am  protected — Mesclet — Made  cook's  mate — Gallego,  the  cook 
—His  appearance  and  character— Don  Rafael's  story— "  Circumstances  " — His 
counsel  for  my  conduct  on  the  island 31 

CHAP,  v.— Life  on  a  sand  key— Pirates  and  wreckers— Their  difference— Our  galliot 
destroyed— the  gang  goes  to  Cuba— I  am  left  with  Gallego— His  daily  fishing  and 
niglitly  flitting— I  watch  him— My  discoveries  in  the  grave-yard— Return  of  the 
Tvreckers — "Amphibious  Jews" — Visit  from  a  Cuban  inspector — "Fishing  li- 
cense " — Gang  goes  to  Cape  Verde — Report  of  a  fresh  wreck — Chance  of  escape — 
Arrival — Return  of  wreckers— Bachicha  and  his  clipper — Death  of  Mesclet — My 
adventures  in  a  privateer— My  restoration  to  the  key — Qallego's  chargea— His  trial 
and  fate .  41 


X  CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

CHAP.  VI.— I  am  sent  from  tbe  key — Consigned  to  a  grocer  at  Eegla— Cibo— His 
household— Fish-loving  padre— Our  dinners  and  studies— EafaePs  fate — Havana 
— A  slaver— I  sail  for  Africa — The  Areostatico's  voyage,  crew,  gale— Mutiny — 
How  I  meet  it  alone — My  first  night  in  Africa! 57 

CHAP.  VII. — Reflections  on  my  conduct  and  character — Morning  after  the  mutiny — 
Burial  of  the  dead — My  wounds — Jack  Ormond,  or  the  "Mongo  John" — My 
physician  and  his  prescription — Value  of  woman's  milk — I  make  the  vessel  ready 
for  iier  slave  cargo — I  dine  with  Mongo  John — His  harem — Frolic  in  it — Duplicity 
of  my  captain — I  take  service  with  Ormond  as  his  clerk — I  pack  the  hmnan 
cargo  of  the  Areostatico— Farewell  to  my  English  cabin  boy— His  story        .        .      66 

CHAP.  VIII. — I  take  possession  of  my  tiew  quarters — My  household  and  its  fittings 
— History  of  Mr.  Ormond — How  he  got  his  rights  in  Africa — I  take  a  survey  of  his 
property  and  of  my  duties — The  Cerberus  of  his  harem — Unga-golah's  stealing — 
Her  rage  at  my  opposition — A  night  visit  at  my  quarters — Estiiee,  the  quarteroou 
— A  warning  and  a  sentimental  scene— Account  of  an  African  factor's  harem — Mongo 
John  in  his  decline— His  women— Their  flirtations — Battles  among  the  girls — How 
African  beaus  fight  a  duel  for  love  I — Scene  of  passionate  jealousy  among  tbe 
women 76 

CHAP.  IX. — Pains  and  dreariness  of  the  "  wet  season  " — African  rain! — A  Caravan 
announced  as  coming  to  the  Coast— Forest  paths  and  trails  in  Africa— How  we 
arrange  to  catch  a  caravan — "Barkers,"  who  they  are — AiiMAii-nE-BELLAH,  son  of 
the  Ali-mami  of  Footha-Yallon — A  Fullah  chief  leads  the  caravan  of  700  persons 
—Arrival  of  the  caravan— Its  character  and  reception— Its  produce  taken  charge 
of— People  billeted — Mode  of  trading  for  the  produce  of  a  caravan — {Note:  Ac- 
count of  the  produce,  its  value  and  results)— Mode  of  purchasing  the  produce- 
Sale  over— Gift  of  an  ostrich — Its  value  in  guns — Bungee  or  "  dash  " — Ahmah-de- 
Bellah — How  he  got  up  his  caravan— Blocks  the  forest  paths — Convoy  duties — 
Value  and  use  of  blocking  the  forest  paths — Collecting  debts,  &c. — My  talks  with 
Ahmah — his  instructions  and  sermons  on  Islamism — My  geographical  disquisitions, 
rotundity  of  the  Avorld,  the  Koran— I  consent  to  turn,  minus  the  baptism  !— Ah- 
mah's  attempt  to  vow  me  to  Islamism — Fullah  punishments — Slave  wars — Piety 
and  profit— Ahmah  and  I  exchange  gifts— A  double-barrelled  gun  for  a  Koran— I 
promise  to  visit  the  Fullah  country 84 

CHAP.  X.— Mode  of  purchasing  Slaves  at  factories— Tricks  of  jockeys— Gunpowder 
and  lemon-juice — I  become  absolute  manager  of  the  stores — Reconciliation  with 
Unga-Golah— La  belle  Esther— I  get  the  African  fever— My  nurses— Cured  by 
sweating  and  bitters — Ague — Showerbath  remedy — Mb.  Edward  Joseph — My 
union  with  him— I  quit  the  Mongo,  and  take  up  my  quarters  with  the  Lon- 
doner        .        .      94 

CHAP.  XI. — An  epoch  in  my  life  in  1827 — A  vessel  arrives  consigned  to  me  for  slaves 
— La  Fortuna — How  I  managed  to  sell  my  cigars  and  get  a  cargo,  though  I  had 
no  factory— My  first  shipment— (Note  on  the  cost  and  profit  of  a  slave  voyage) — 
How  slaves  are  selected  for  various  markets,  and  shipped — Go  on  board  naked — 
hearty  feed  before  embarkation — Stowage — Messes — Mode  of  eating — Grace — 
Men  and  women  separated — Attention  to  health,  cleanliess,  ventilation — Singing 
and  amusements — Daily  purification  of  the  vessel — Night,  order  and  silence  pre- 
served by  negro  constables— Use  and  disuse  of  handcuffs — Brazilian  slavers— (Note 
on  condition  of  slavers  since  the  treaty  with  Spain) 99 

CHAP.  XII.— How  a  cargo  of  slaves  is  landed  in  Cuba— Detection  avoided — "  Orati- 
ficaciones.''''  Clothes  distributed — Vessel  burnt  or  sent  in  as  a  coaster,  or  in  distress 


CONTENTS.  XI 

PAGB 

—A  slave's  first  glimpse  of  a  Cuban  plantation— Delight  with  food  and  dress- 
Oddity  of  beasts  of  burden  and  vehicles — A  slave's  first  interview  with  a  negro 
postilion — the  postilion's  sermon  in  favor  of  slavery — Dealings  with  the  ancho- 
rites—How tobacco  smoke  blinds  public  funclionares— My  popularity  on  the  Kio 
Pongo — Ormond's  enmity  to  rae .        •        .     107 

CHAP.  XIII. — I  become  intimate  with  "  Country  princes "'  and  receive  their  presents 
— Royal  marriages — Insulting  to  refuse  a  proffered  wife — I  am  pressed  to  wed  a 
princess  and  my  diplomacy  to  escape  the  sable  noose — My  partner  agrees  to  marry 
the  princess — The  ceremonial  of  wooing  and  wedding  in  African  high  life— Coomba    110 

CHAP.  XIV.— Joseph,  my  partner,  has  to  fiy  from  Africa— How  I  save  our  property 
— My  visit  to  the  Bageks — their  primitive  mode  of  life — Habits — Honesty — I  find 
my  property  unguarded  and  safe— My  welcome  in  the  village— Gift  of  a  goat— Sup- 
per— Sleep — A  narrow  escape  in  the  surf  on  the  coast — the  skill  of  Kroomen        .    119 

CHAP.  XV.— I  study  the  institution  of  Slavery  in  Africa— Man  becomes  a  "legal 
tender,"  or  the  coin  of  Africa — Slave  wars,  how  they  are  directly  promoted  by  the 
peculiar  adaptation  of  the  trade  of  the  great  commercial  nations — Slavery  an  im- 
memorial institution  in  Africa — How  and  why  it  will  always  be  retained — Who  are 
made  home  slaves — Jockeys  and  brokers — Five  si.xths  of  Africa  in  domestic 
bondage 12T 

CHAP.  XVI.— Caravan  announced— Mami  de  Yono,  from  Footha  Yallon,  uncle  of 
Ahmah  de  Bellah — My  ceremonious  reception — My  preparations  for  the  chief— 
CotFee — his  school  and  teaching — Narrative  of  his  trip  to  Timbuctoo — Queer 
black-board  map — prolix  story  teller— Timbuctoo  and  its  trade— Slavery        .        .    129 

CHAP.  XVII.— I  set  forth  on  my  journey  to  Timbo,  to  see  the  father  of  Ahmah  de 
Bellah— My  caravan  and  its  mode  of  travel— My  Mussulman  passport— Forest 
roads — Arrive  at  Kya  among  the  Mandixgoes — My  lodgings — Ibuahim  Ali — Our 
supper  and  "bitters" — A  scene  of  piety,  love  and  liquor — Next  morning's  headache 
—Ali  Ninpha  begs  leave  to  halt  for  a  day— I  manage  our  Fullah  guide— My  fever 
— Ilomoeopatliic  dose  of  Islamism  ft-om  the  Koran — My  cure — Afternoon      .        .    136 

CHAP.  XVIII.— A  ride  on  horseback— Its  exhilaration  in  the  forest— Visit  to  the  De- 
vil's Fountain — Tricks  of  an  echo  and  sulphur  water — Ibraliim  and  I  discourse 
learnedly  upon  the  ethics  of  fluids— My  respect  for  national  peculiarities — Our 
host's  liberality — Mandingo  etiquette  at  the  departure  of  a  guest — A  valuable  gift 
ft-om  Ibrahim  and  its  delicate  bestowal— My  offering  in  return— Tobacco  and 
brandy  .  143 

CHAP.  XIX. —  Anight  bivouac  in  the  forest — Hammock  swung  between  trees — A 
surprise  and  capture— What  we  do  with  the  fugitive  slaves— A  Mandingo  upstart 
and  his  "  town"— Inhospitality— He  insults  my  Fullah  leader— A  quarrel- The 
Mandingo  is  seized  and  his  townsfolk  driven  out— We  tarry  for  Ali  Ninpha— He 
returns  and  triesbis  countrymen — Punishment—  Mode  of  inculcating  the  social 
virtues  among  these  interior  tribes — We  cross  the  Sanghu  on  an  impromptu  bridge 
—Game— Forest  food— Vegetables— A  "  Witch's  cauldron  "  of  reptiles  for  tho 
negroes 147 

CHAP.  XX. — Spread  of  Mahometanism  in  the  interior  of  Africa — The  external  as- 
pect of  nature  in  Africa— Prolific  land— Indolence  a  law  of  the  physical  constitu- 
tion— My  caravan's  progress — The  Ali  Mami's  peotection,  its  value — Forest 
scenery — Woods,  open  plains,  barrancas  and  ravines — Their  intense  heat — Prairies 
—Swordgrass— River  scenery,  magnificence  of  the  shores,  foliage,  flowers,  fruits 
and  birds ;  picturesque  towns,  villages  and  herds — Mountain  scenery,  view,  at 
morning,  over  the  lowlands— An  African  noon 153 


atll  CONTENTS. 

PAGB 

CHAP.  XXL— "We  approach  Tamisso— Our  halt  at  a  brook— bathing,  beautifying, 
and  adornment  of  the  women— Meseage  and  Melcome  from  Mohamedoo,  by  his 
son,  with  a  gift  of  fo3d— Our  musical  escort  and  procession  to  the  city— My  horse 
is  led  by  a  buffoon  of  the  court,  who  takes  care  of  my  face— Cariosity  of  the  towns- 
folk to  see  the  white  Mongo — I  pass  on  hastily  to  the  Palace  of  Mohamedoo — 
What  an  African  palace  and  its  furniture  is — Mohamedoo's  appearance,  greeting 
and  dissatisfaction — I  make  my  present  and  clear  up  the  clouds — I  determine  to 
bathe— How  the  girls  watch  me — Their  commentaries  on  my  skin  and  complexion 
—Negro  curiosity— A  bath  scene— Appearance  of  Tamisso,  and  my  entertainment 
there     .  157 

CHAP.  XXir.— Improved  character  of  country  and  population  as  we  alvance  to  the 
interior — "We  approach  Jallica — Notice  to  Supuiana — A  halt  for  refreshment 
and  ablutions — Ali  Ninpha's  early  home  here — A  great  man  in  Soolimana— Sound 
of  the  war  drum  at  a  distance— Our  welcome —  Entrance  to  the  town — My  party, 
with  the  Fullah,  is  barred  out — "We  are  rescued— Grand  ceremonial  procession  and 
reception,  lasting  two  hours— I  am,  at  last,  presented  to  Suphiana— My  entertain- 
ment in  Jallica — A  concert —  Musical  instruments — Madoo,  the  ayah — I  reward 
her  dancing  and  singing 162 

CHAP.  XXIII.— Our  caravan  proceeds  towards  Timbo— Met  and  welcomed  in  ad- 
vance, on  a  lofty  table  land,  by  Ahmah  de  Bellah — Psalm  of  joy  sung  by  the  Ful- 
lahs  for  our  safety — "We  reach  Timbo  before  day — A  house  has  been  specially  built 
and  furnished  for  me — Minute  care  for  my  taste  and  comforts — Ahmah  de  Bellah 
a  trump — A  fancy  dressing-gown  and  ruffled  shirt — I  bathe,  dress,  and  am  pre- 
sented to  the  Ali  Mami — His  inquisitive  but  cordial  reception  and  recommenda- 
tion— Portrait  of  a  Fullah  king— A  breakfast  with  his  wife — My  formal  reception  by 
the  Chiefs  of  Timbo  and  Sulim.vni  Ali — The  ceremonial — Ahmah's  speech  as  to 
my  purposes — Promise  of  hospitality — My  gifts— I  design  purchasing  slaves — 
scrutiny  of  the  presents — Cantharides — Abdulmomex  Ali,  a  prince  and  book- 
man—His edifying  discourse  on  Islamism- My  submission 167 

CHAP.  XXIV.— Site  of  Timbo  and  the  surrounding  country— A  ride  with  the  princes 
— A  modest  custom  of  the  Fullahs  in  passing  streams — Visit  to  villages — The  in- 
habitants fly,  fearing  we  are  on  a  slave  scout— Appearance  of  the  cultivated  lands, 
gardens,  near  Findo  and  Furo— Every  body  shuns  me— A  walk  through  Timbo — 
A  secret  expedition — I  watch  the  girls  and  matrons  as  they  go  to  the  stream  to 
draw  water — Their  figures,  limbs,  dress — A  splendid  headdress — The  people  of 
Timbo,  their  character,  occupation,  industry,  reading — I  announce  my  approach- 
ing departure— Slave  forays  to  supply  me — A  capture  of  forty-five  by  Sulimani 
Ali — The  personal  dread  of  me  increases — Abdulmomen  and  Ahmah  de  Bellah 
continue  their  slave  hunts  by  day,  and  their  pious  discourses  on  Islamism  by  night 
—I  depart— The  farewell  gifts— two  pretty  damsels 176 

CHAP.  XXV.— My  home  journey— "We  reach  home  with  a  caravan  near  a  thousand 
strong— Kambia  in  order- Mami  de  Yong  and  my  clerk— The  story  and  fate  of 
the  Ali  Mami's  daughter  Beeljie 188 

CHAP.  XXVI.— Arrival  of  a  French  slaver.  La  Perouse,  Captain  Brulot— Ormond 
and  I  breakfast  on  board— Its  sequel— "We  are  made  prisoners  and  put  in  irons- 
Short  mode  of  collecting  an  old  debt  on  the  coast  of  Africa— The  Frenchman  gets 
possession  of  our  slaves — Arrival  of  a  Spanish  slaver 190 

CHAP.  XXVII.— Ormond  communicates  with  the  Spaniard,  and  arranges  for  our  res- 
sue- La  Esperanz a— Brulot  gives  in— How  we  fine  him  two  hundred  and  fifty 
doubloons  for  the  expense  of  his  suit,  and  teach  him  the  danger  of  playing  tricks 
upon  African  factors      ....  196 


CONTENTS.  Xlll 

PAGE 

CHAP.  XXVIIL— Capt.  Escudero  of  the  Esperanza  dies— I  resolve  to  take  his  place 
in  command  and  visit  Cuba — Arrival  of  a  Danish  slaver— Quarrel  and  battle  be- 
tween the  crews  of  my  Spaniard  and  the  Dane— The  Dane  attempts  to  punish  me 
through  the  duplicity  of  Ormond— I  bribe  a  servant  and  discover  the  trick— My 
conversation  with  Ormond — \N"e  agiee  to  circumvent  the  enemy — Howl  get  a 
cargo  without  cash 200 

CHAP.  XXIX.— Off  to  sea— A  calm— A  British  man-of-war— Boat  attack— Eeinforce- 

ment— A  battle— A  catastrophe— A  prisoner 206 

CHAP.  XXX. — 1  am  sent  on  board  the  corvette— My  reception— A  dangerous  pre- 
dicament— The  Captain  and  surgeon  make  me  comfortable  for  the  night — Extraor- 
dinary conveniences  for  escape,  of  which  I  take  the  liberty  to  avail  myself    .        .    215 

CHAP.  XXXI.— I  drift  away  in  a  boat  with  my  servant— Our  adventures  till  we  land 
in  the  Isles  de  Loss — My  illness  and  recovery— I  return  to  the  Kio  Pongo— I  am 
received  on  board  a  French  slaver — Invitation  to  dinner — Monkey  soup  and  its 
consequences  218 

CHAP.  XXXII.— My  greeting  in  Kambia— The  Feliz  from  Matanzas — Negotiations 
for  her  cargo — Ormond  attempts  to  poison  rue — Ormonds auiciJe — His  burial  ac- 
cording to  African  customs 222 

CHAP.  XXXIII.— A  visit  to  the  Matacan  river  in  quest  of  slaves— My  reception  by 
the  king — His  appearance — Scramble  for  my  gifts — How  slaves  are  sometimes  trap- 
ped on  a  hasty  hunt— I  visit  the  Matacan  Wizard  ;  his  cave,  leopard,  blind  boy 
— Deceptions  and  jugglery— Feitiches — A  scale  of  African  intellect        .        .        .    227 

CHAP.  XXXIV.— What  became  of  the  Esperanza's  officers  and  crew — The  destruc- 
tion of  my  factory  at  Kambia  by  fire— I  lose  all  but  my  slaves — the  incendiary  de- 
tected— Who  instigated  the  deed — Ormond's  relatives — Death  ok  Esther — I  go 
to  sea  in  a  schooner  from  Sierra  Leone — How  I  acquire  a  cargo  of  slaves  in  the  Kio 
Nunez  without  money 233 

CHAP.  XXXV. — I  escape  capture — Symptoms  of  mutiny  and  detection  of  the  plot — 

How  we  put  it  down 240 

CHAP.  XXXVI. — A  "  white  squall  " — I  land  my  cargo  near  St.  Jago  de  Cuba — Trip 
to  Havana  on  horseback— My  consignees  and  their  prompt  arrangements — success 
of  my  voyage— Interference  of  the  French  Consul— I  am  nearly  arrested— How 
things  were  managed,  of  old,  in  Cuba 244 

CHAP.  XXXVII.— A  long  holiday— I  am  wrecked  on  a  key— My  rescue  by  salvors 
— New  Providence — I  ship  on  the  San  Pablo,  from  St.  Thomas's,  as  sailing  mas- 
ter—Her  captain  and  his  arrangements— Encounter  a  transport— Benefit  of  the 
smallpox— Mozambique  Channel— Take  cargo  near  Quilllmane— How  we  man- 
aged to  get  slaves— Illness  of  our  captain— The  smallpox  breaks  out  on  our  brig- 
Its  fatality 243 

CHAP.  XXXVIII.— Our  captain  longs  for  calomel,  and  how  I  get  it  from  a  Scotch- 
man—Our captain's  last  will  and  testament— We  are  chased  by  a  British  cruiser- 
How  we  out-manoeuvred  and  crippled  her — Death  of  our  captain — Cargo  landed 
and  the  San  Pablo  burnt 255 

CHAP.  XXXIX.— My  returns  from  the  voyage  $12,000,  and  how  I  ap[-ly  them— A 
custr)m-liouse  encoonter  which  loses  me  La  Conchita  and  my  money -I  get  com- 
mand of  a  slaver  for  Ayuoau — La  Estrella— I  consign  her  to  the  notorious  Da 
SoczA  or  Cha-cha— His  history  and  mode  of  life  in  Africa— His  gambling  houses 
and  women — I  keep  aloof  from  his  temptations,  and  contrive  to  get  my  cargo  in 
two  months 260 


XIV  CONTENTS. 

PACK 

CIIAP.  XL. — All  Africans  believe  in  divinities  or  powers  of  various  degree,  t-xcept 
the  Bagers— Iguanas  worshipped  in  Ayudah— Invitation  to  witness  the  human 
6ACRIFICE6  at  the  court  of  Dahomey— How  they  travel  to  Abomey— The  King,  liis 
court,  amazons,  style  of  life,  and  brutal  festivities— Superstitious  rights  at  Lagos— 
The  Juju  hunts  by  night  for  the  virgin  to  be  sacrificed— Greegree  bush— The  sa- 
crifice— African  priest  and  kingcraft 265 

CIIAP.  XLL— My  voyage  home  in  the  Estrella- A  revolt  of  the  slaves  during 

a  squall,  and  how  we  were  obliged  to  suppress  ii— Use  of  pistols  and  hot  water    .    272 

CIIAP.  XLII. — Smallpox  and  a  necessary  murder — Bad  luck  every  where — A  chase 

and  a  narrow  escape 276 

CHAP.  XLIII.— The  Aguila  de  Oro,  a  Chesapeake  clipper— my  race  with  the  Mon- 
tesquieu— I  enter  the  river  Salum  to  trade  for  slaves — I  am  threatened,  then  ar- 
rested, and  my  clipper  seized  by  French  man-of-war's  men — Inexplicable  mystery 
— We  are  imprisoned  at  Goree — Transferred  to  San  Louis  on  the  Senegal — The 
Frenchmen  appropriate  my  schooner  without  condemnation — How  they  used  her 
The  sisters  of  charity  m  our  prison— The  trial  scene  in  court,  and  our  sentence- 
Friends  attempt  to  facilitate  my  escape,  but  our  plans  detected — I  am  transferred 
to  aguardship  in  the  stream — New  i>r<)jects  for  my  escai)e — A  jolly  party  and  the 
nick  of  time,  but  the  captain  spoils  the  sport 280 

CHAP.  XLIV.— I  am  sent  to  France  in  the  frigate  Flora— Sisters  of  charity— The 
prison  of  Brest— My  prison  companions— Prison  mysteries— Corporal  Blon— I 
apply  to  the  Spanish  minister — Transfer  to  the  civil  prison 286 

CIIAP.  XLV.— Madame  Sorret  and  my  new  quarters— Mode  of  life— A  lot  of  Cata- 
lan girls — Prison  boarding  and  lodging — Misery  of  the  convicts  in  the  coast  prisons 
— Improvement  of  the  central  prisons 292 

CHAP.  XLVL— New  lodgers  in  our  quarters— How  we  pass  our  time  in  pleasant 
diversions  by  aid  of  the  Catalan  girls  and  my  cash— Soirees— My  funds  give  out — 
Madame  Sorret  makes  a  suggestion — I  turn  schoolmaster,  get  jmpils,  teach  Eng- 
lish and  penmanship,  and  support  my  whole  party 295 

CHAP.  XLVIL— Monsieur  Germaine,  the  forger— His  trick— Cause  of  Germaine's 

arrest — An  adroit  and  rapid  forgery — Its  detection 300 

CHAP.  XLVIII.— Plan  of  escape— Germaine's  project  against  Babette— A  new 
scheme  for  New  Year's  night — Passports— Pietro  Nazzolini  and  Domenico 
Antonette— Preparations  for  our  "  French  leave  "—How  the  attempt  eventuated    804 

CHAP.  XLIX.— Condition  of  the  Sentinel  when  he  was  found— His  story— Prison 
researches  next  day — How  we  avoid  detection — Louis  Philippe  receives  my  peti- 
tion favorably— Germaine's  philosophic  pilfering  and  principles— His  plan  to  rob 
the  Santissima  Casa  of  Loreto — He  designs  making  an  attempt  on  the  Em- 
peror Nicholas— I  am  released  and  banished  from  France         810 

CHAP.  L.— I  go  to  Portugal,  and  return  in  disguise  to  Marseilles,  in  order  to  embark 
for  Africa— I  resolve  to  continue  a  slaver— A  Marseilles  hotel  during  the  cholera- 
Doctor  Du  Jean  and  Madame  Duprez — Humors  of  the  table  d'hote — Coquetry 
and  flirtation — A  phrenological  denouement 816 

CHAP.  LI.— I  reach  Goree,  and  hasten  to  Sierra  Leone,  where  I  become  a  coast 
pilot  to  Gallinas— Site  of  that  celebrated  factory— Z)o?i  Pedro  Blanco— His 
monopoly  of  the  Yey  country — Slave  trade  and  its  territorial  extent  prior  to  the 
American  Scheme  of  Colonization — Blanco's  arrangements,  telegraphs,  &c.  at 
Gallinas — Appearance  and  mode  of  life— Blanco  and  the  Lord's  prayer  in  Latin  .    824 


CONTENTS.  XV 

PAGE 

CHAP.  LIL— Anecdotes  of  Blanco— Growth  of  slave  trade  in  the  Yet  country— Lo- 
cal wars— Amarvr  and  Shiakar— Barbarities  of  the  natives 330 


CHAP.  LIII.— I  visit  Liberia,  and  observe  a  new  phase  of  negro  development— I  go 
to  New  Sesteos,  and  establish  trade  -Trouble  with  Prince  Freeman— The  value 
of  gunpowder  physic S85 

CHAP.  LIV.— My  establishment  at  New  Sestros,  and  how  I  created  the  slave  trade 
in  that  region— The  ordeal  of  Saccy  Wood— My  mode  of  attacking  a  supersti- 
tious usage,  and  of  saving  the  victims— The  story  of  Barrau  and  his  execution  .    3S9 

CHAP.  LV.— No  river  at  New  Sestros— Beach— Kroomen  and  Fishraen— Bushmen— 
Kroo  boats— I  engage  a  fleet  of  them  for  my  factory— I  ship  a  cargo  of  slaves  in  a 
hurry- My  mode  of  operating — Value  of  rum  and  mock  coral  beads — Return  of 
the  cruiser 344 

CHAP.  LVL— I  go  on  a  pleasure  voyage  in  the  Brilliant,  accompanied  by  Governor 
FiNDLAY— Murder  of  the  Governor — I  fit  out  an  expedition  to  revenge  his  death 
— A  fight  with  the  beach  negroes — We  burn  five  towns — A  disastrous  retreat — I 
am  wounded — Vindication  of  Findlay's  memory 394 

CHAP.  LVIL— What  Don  Pedro  Blanco  thought  of  my  Quixotism— Painful  effects 
of  my  wound — Blanco's  liberality  to  Findlay's  family — My  slave  nurseries  on  the 
coast — Digby — I  pack  nineteen  negroes  on  my  launch,  and  set  sail  for  home — Dis- 
astrous voyage— Stories — I  land  my  cargo  at  night  at  Monrovia,  and  carry  it 
through  the  colony!— Some  new  views  of  commercial  Morality!    ....    356 

CHAP.  LVIII.— My  compliments  to  British  cruisers — The  Bonito— I  offer  an  inspec- 
tion of  my  barracoons,  &c ,  to  her  ofticers — A  lieutenant  and  the  surgeon  are  sent 
ashore — My  reception  of  them,  and  the  review  of  my  slaves,  feeding,  sleeping,  &c. 
— Our  night  frolic — Next  morning — A  surprise — The  Bonito  off,  and  her  officers 
ashore! — Almost  a  quarrel — How  I  pacified  my  guests  over  a  good  breakfast — 
Sauce  for  the  goose  is  sauce  for  the  gander         - 362 

CHAP.  LIX.— Ups  and  downs— I  am  captured  in  a  Russian  vessel,  and  sent  to  Sierra 
Leone — It  is  resolved  that  I  am  to  be  despatched  to  England — I  determine  to  take 
French  leave— Preparation  to  celebrate  a  birthday — A  feast— A  martinet — Cor- 
poral Blcnt — Pleasant  effects  of  cider— A  swim  for  life  and  liberty  at  night — 
My  concealment — I  manage  to  equip  myself,  and  depart  in  a  Portuguese  vessel — 
I  ship  thirty-one  slaves  at  Digby — A  narrow  escape  from  a  cruiser — My  return  to 
New  Sestros— Report  of  my  death— How  I  restored  confidence  in  my  actual  exist- 
ence— Don  Pedro's  notion  of  me — The  gift  of  a  donkey,  and  its  disastrous  effect 
on  the  married  ladies  of  New  Sestros  .        .        .        .        , 369 

CHAP.  LX. — The  confession  of  a  dying  sailor— Sanchez— The  story  of  the  murder  of 
Don  Miguel,  and  destruction  of  his  fiictory  by  Thompson- A  piratical  revenge — 
An  auto-da-fe  at  sea 377 

CHAP.  LXL— My  establishment  at  Digby— The  rival  kinsmen,  and  their  quarrel — 
Jen-ken,  the  Bushman — My  arrival  at  Digby,  carousal— A  night  attack  by  the 
rival  and  his  allies— A  rout— Horrid  scenes  of  massacre,  barbarity,  and  cannibal- 
ism—My position  and  ransom 8S2 

?HAP.  LXII.— 1  escape  from  the  bloody  scene  in  a  boat  with  a  Krooman— Storm  on 
the  coast— My  perilous  attempt  to  land  at  Gallinas— How  I  am  warned  off— An 
African  tornado — The  sufferings  of  my  companion  and  myself  while  exposed  in 
the  boat,  and  our  final  rescue 387 

CHAP.  LXIII.— Don  Pedro  Blanco  leaves  Gallinas— I  visit  Cape  Mount,  to  restore 
his  eon  to  the  Chief— His  reception— I  go  to  England  in  the  Gil  Blas  ;  she  is  run 


XVI  CONTENTS. 

PAGK 

down  by  a  steamer  in  the  Channel— Rescued,  and  reach  Dover— I  see  London  and 
the  British  Islands— The  diversions,  sufferings,  and  opinions  of  my  servant  Luxes 
in  Great  Britain — lie  leaves  xoluntarily  for  Africa— A  queer  chat  and  scene  with 
the  ladies — Ilis  opinion  of  negro  dress  and  negro  bliss 31)1 

CHAP.  LXIV.— I  make  arrangements  for  future  trade  and  business  with  Mk.  Red- 
man— I  go  to  Havana,  r'^solved  to  obtain  a  release  from  Blanco,  and  engage  in 
lawful  commerce— Don  Pedro  refuses,  and  sends  me  back  with  a  freight — A  voy- 
age with  two  African  females  revisiting  their  native  country— Their  story  in 
Cuba;  results  of  frugality  and  industry— Shiakar's  daughter— Her  reception  at 
home— Her  disgust  with  her  savage  home  in  Africa,  and  return  to  Cuba        .        .     396 

CHAP.  LXV. — I  find  my  establishment  in  danger,  from  the  colonists  and  others — A 
correspondence  with  Lieut.  Bell,  U.  8.  N. — Harmless  termination  of  Governor 
Buchanan's  onslaught — Threatened  with  famine ;  my  relief— The  Volador 
takes  749  slaves ;— the  last  cargo  I  ever  shipped 899 

CHAP.  LXVI.— I  am  attacked  by  the  British  cruiser  Termagant,  Lieut.  Seagram— 
Correspondence  and  diplomacy — I  go  on  board  the  cruiser  in  a  damp  uniform — 
My  reception  and  jollification — I  confess  my  intention  to  abandon  the 
Slave  trade — My  compact  with  Seagram — How  we  manage  Prince  Freeman — 
His  treaty  with  the  Lieutenant  for  the  suppression  of  the  trade — The  negro's  du- 
plicity outwits  himself— The  British  officer  guaranties  the  safe  removal  of  my 
property,  whereupon  I  release  100  slaves— Captain  Denman's  destruction  of 
Gallinas — Freeman  begins  to  see  my  diplomacy,  and  regrets  his  inability  to 
plunder  my  property,  as  the  natives  had  done  at  Gallinas — His  plot  to  effect  this 
— How  I  counteract  it 405 

CHAP.  LXVII. — My  barracoons  destroyed — Adieus  to  New  Sestros — I  sail  with  Sea- 
gram, in  the  Termagant,  for  Cape  Mount — A  slaver  in  sight — All  the  nautical  men 
depart  to  attack  her  in  boats  during  a  calm — I  am  left  in  charge  of  Her  Britannic 
Majesty's  cruiser — The  fruitless  issue — Escape  of  the  Serea 411 

CHAP.  LXVIII. — We  land  at  Cape  Mount,  and  obtain  a  cession  of  territory,  by  deed, 
ft-om  King  Fana-Toro  and  Prince  Gray — I  explore  the  region — Site  of  old 
English  slave  factory — Difficulty  of  making  the  negroes  comprehend  my  itriprove- 
ments  at  New  Florence — Negro  speculations  and  philosophy  in  regard  to  labor     .    414 

CHAP.  LXIX. — Visit  to  Monrovia— Description  of  the  colony  and  its  products- 
Speculations  on  the  future  of  the  republic,  and  the  character  of  colored  coloni- 
zation      419 

CHAP.  LXX. — I  remove,  and  settle  permanently  at  New  Florence — I  open  commu- 
nications with  cruisers  to  supply  them  with  provisions,  ifec. — Anecdote  of  Soma, 
the  gambler — His  sale  and  danger  in  the  hands  of  a  Bushman — Mode  ol  gambling 
one's  self  away  in  Africa — A  letter  from  Governor  Macdonald  destroys  my  pros- 
pect of  British  protection— I  haul  down  the  British  flag— I  determine  to  devote 
myself  to  husbandry— Bad  prospect 424 

CHAP.  LXXI.— Account  of  the  character  of  the  Vey  negroes— The  Gree-gree 
bush — Description  of  this  institution,  its  rites,  services,  and  uses — Marriage  and 
midwifery- A  scene  with  Fana-Toro,  at  Toso — Human  sacrifice  of  his  enemy ; 
frying  a  heart;  indignity  committed  on  the  body — Anecdote  of  the  king's  endu- 
rance ;  burns  his  finger  as  a  test,  and  rallies  his  men — Death  of  Prince  Gray — Fu- 
neral rites  among  the  Vey  people — Smoking  the  corpse — I  am  offered  the  choice 
of  his  widows 481 

CHAP.  LXXIL— My  workshops,  gardens,  and  plantations  at  the  Capo  Mount  settle- 
ment—I do  not  prosper  as  a  farmer  or  trader  with  the  interior— I  desire  to  build 


CONTENTS.  XVll 

PAGa 

a  coaster— 1  aid  in  the  transfer  of  the  Yankee  clipper  A to  a  slaver— I  part  on 

bad  terms  with  the  British— Game  at  Cape  Mount— Adventure  of  a  boy  and  an 
Ourang-outang — How  we  killed  leopards,  and  saved  our  castle — Mode  of  hunting 
elephants— Elephant  law 437 

CHAP.  LXXIII.— Fana-Toro's  war,  and  its  eDFect  on  my  establishment -I  decline 
joining  actively  in  the  conflict— I  allow  captives  to  be  shipped  by  a  Gallinas  factor 
— Two  years  of  blockade  by  the  British — A  miraculous  voyage  of  a  long-boat  with 
thirty-three  slaves  to  Baliia — My  disasters  and  mishaps  at  Cape  Mount  in  conse- 
quence of  this  war — Exaggerations  of  my  enemies— My  true  character — Letter  from 
Rev.  Joiix  Sets  to  me— My  desire  to  aid  the  missionaries— Cain  and  Cuktis 
stimulate  the  British  against  me — Adventure  of  the  Chancellor — the  British  de- 
stroy my  establishment— Death  of  Fana-Toro — The  natives  revenge  my  loss— 
The  end 442 


THEODORE    CANOT 


CHAPTER    I. 

Whilst  Bonaparte  was  busy  conquering  Italy,  my  excellent 
father,  Louis  Canot,  a  captain  and  paymaster  in  the  French 
army,  thought  fit  to  pursue  his  fortunes  among  the  gentler  sex 
of  that  fascinating  country,  and  luckily  won  the  heart  and  hand 
of  a  blooming  Piedmontese,  to  whom  I  owe  my  birth  in  the  capi- 
tal of  TuBcany- 

My  father  was  faithful  to  the  Emperor  as  well  as  the  Consul. 
He  followed  his  sovereign  in  his  disasters  as  well  as  glory  ;  nor 
did  he  falter  in  allegiance  until  death  closed  his  career  on  the 
Held  of  Waterloo. 

Soldiers'  wives  are  seldom  rich,  and  my  mother  was  no  ex- 
ception  to  the  rule.  She  was  left  in  very  moderate  circum- 
stances, with  six  children  to  support ;  but  the  widow  of  an  old 
campaigner,  who  had  partaken  the  sufferings  of  many  a  long  and 
dreary  march  with  her  husband,  was  neither  disheartened  by  the 
calamity,  nor  at  a  loss  for  thrifty  expedients  to  educate  her 
younger  oflFspring.  Accordingly,  I  was  kept  at  school,  studying 
'geography,  arithmetic,  history  and  the  languages,  until  near 
twelve  years  old,  when  it  was  thought  time  for  me  to  choose  a 
profession.     At  school,  and  in  my  leisure  ho^rs,  J.  h^d  ?ilway8 


2  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

been  a  greedy  devourer  of  books  of  travel,  or  historical  narra- 
tives full  of  stirring  incidents,  so  that  when  I  avowed  my  prefer- 
ence for  a  sea-faring  life,  no  one  was  surprised.  Indeed,  my 
fancy  was  rather  applauded,  as  two  of  my  mother's  brothers  had 
served  in  the  Neapolitan  navy,  under  Murat.  Proper  inquiries 
were  quickly  made  at  Leghorn  ;  and,  in  a  few  weeks,  I  found 
myself  on  the  mole  of  that  noble  seaport,  comfortably  equipped, 
with  a  liberal  outfit,  ready  to  embark,  as  an  apprentice,  upon  the 
American  ship  Galatea,  of  Boston. 

It  was  in  the  year  1819,  that  I  first  saluted  the  element  upon 
which  it  has  been  my  destiny  to  pass  so  much  of  my  life.  The 
reader  will  readily  imagine  the  discomforts  to  which  I  was  sub- 
jected on  this  voyage.  Born  and  bred  in  the  interior  of  Ital}^ 
I  had  only  the  most  romantic  ideas  of  the  sea.  My  opinions 
had  been  formed  from  the  lives  of  men  in  loftier  rank  and  under 
more  interosting  circumstances.  My  career  was  necessarily  one 
of  great  hardship  ;  and,  to  add  to  my  misfortunes,  I  had  neither 
companion  nor  language  to  vent  my  grief  and  demand  sympathy. 
For  the  first  three  months,  I  was  the  butt  of  every  joker  in  the 
ship.  I  was  the  scape-goat  of  every  accident  and  of  every  one's 
sins  or  carelessness.  As  I  lived  in  the  cabin,  each  plate,  glass, 
or  utensil  that  fell  to  leeward  in  a  gale,  was  charged  to  m}^  negli- 
gence. Indeed,  no  one  seemed  to  compassionate  my  lot  save  a 
fat,  lubberly  negro  cook,  whom  I  could  not  endure.  He  was  the 
first  African  my  eye  ever  fell  on,  and  I  must  confess  that  he 
was  the  only  friend  I  possessed  during  my  early  adventures. 

Besides  the  ofl&cers  of  the  Galatea,  there  was  a  clerk  on 
board,  whom  the  captain  directed  to  teach  me  English,  so  that, 
by  the  time  we  reached  Sumatra,  I  was  able  to  stand  up  for  my 
rights,  and  plead  niy  cause.  As  we  could  not  obtain  a  cargo  of 
pepper  on  the  island,  we  proceeded  to  Bengal ;  and,  on  our  arri- 
val at  Calcutta,  the  captain,  who  was  also  supercargo,  took  apart- 
ments on  shore,  where  the  clerk  and  myself  were  allowed  to  fol- 
low him. 

According  to  the  fashion  of  that  period,  the  house  provided 
for  our  accommodation  was  a  spacious  and  elegant  one,  equipped 
with  eyery  oriental   comfort   and  conyeijience,  while  fifteen  ojr 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  3 

twenty  servants  were  always  at  the  command  of  its  inmates. 
For  three  months  we  lived  like  nabobs,  and  sorry,  indeed,  was  I 
when  the  clerk  announced  that  the  vessel's  loading  was  completed, 
and  our  holiday  over. 

On  the  voyage  home,  I  was  promoted  from  the  cabin,  and 
sent  into  the  steerage  to  do  duty  as  a  "  light  hand,"  in  the  chief 
mate's  watch.  Between  this  officer  and  the  captain  there  was 
ill  blood,  and,  as  I  was  considered  the  master's  pet,  I  soon  began 
to  feel  the  bitterness  of  the  subordinate's  spite.  This  fellow 
was  not  only  cross-grained,  but  absolutely  malignant.  One  day, 
while  the  ship  was  skimming  along  gayly  with  a  five-knot  breeze, 
he  ordered  me  out  to  the  end  of  the  jib-boom  to  loosen  the  sail; 
yet,  without  waiting  until  I  was  clear  of  the  jib,  he  suddenly 
commanded  the  men  who  were  at  the  halliards  to  hoist  the  can- 
vas aloft.  A  sailor  who  stood  by  pointed  out  my  situation,  but 
was  cursed  into  silence.  In  a  moment  I  was  jerked  into  the  air, 
and,  after  performing  half  a  dozen  involuntary  summersets,  was 
thrown  into  the  water,  some  distance  from  the  ship's  side. 
When  I  rose  to  the  surface,  I  heard  the  prolonged  cry  of  the 
anxious  crew,  all  of  whom  rushed  to  the  ship's  side,  some  with 
ropes'  ends,  some  with  chicken  coops,  while  others  sprang  to  the 
stern  boat  to  prepare  it  for  launching.  In  the  midst  of  the 
hurly-burly,  the  captain  reached  the  deck,  and  laid  the  ship  to ; 
the  sailor  who  had  remonstrated  with  the  mate  having,  in  the 
meantime,  clutched  that  officer,  and  attempted  to  throw  him 
over,  believing  I  had  been  drowned  by  his  cruelty.  As  the  sails 
of  the  Galatea  flattened  against  the  wind,  many  an  anxious  eye 
was  strained  over  the  water  in  search  of  me  ;  but  I  was  nowhere 
seen  !  In  truth,  as  the  vessel  turned  on  her  heel,  the  movement 
brought  her  so  close  to  the  spot  where  I  rose,  that  I  clutched  a 
rope  thrown  over  for  my  rescue,  and  climbed  to  the  lee  channels 
without  being  perceived.  As  I  leaped  to  the  deck,  I  found  one 
half  the  men  in  tumultuous  assemblage  around  the  struggling 
mate  and  sailor ;  but  my  sudden  apparition  served  to  divert  the 
mob  from  its  fell  purpose,  and,  in  a  few  moments,  order  was  per- 
fectly restored.  Our  captain  was  an  intelligent  and  just  man, 
as  may  be  readily  supposed  from   the  fact  that   he  exclusively 


4  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

controlled  so  valuable  an  enterprise.  Accordingly,  the  matter 
was  examined  with  much  deliberation  ;  and,  on  the  following 
day,  the  chief  mate  was  deprived  of  his  command,  I  should  not 
forget  to  mention  that,  in  the  midst  of  the  excitement,  my  sable 
friend  the  cook  leaped  overboard  to  rescue  his  'protege.  Nobody 
happened  to  notice  the  darkey  when  he  sprang  into  the  sea ;  and, 
as  he  swam  in  a  direction  quite  contrary  from  the  spot  where  I 
fell,  he  was  nigh  being  lost,  when  the  ship's  sails  were  trimmed 
upon  her  course.  Just  at  that  moment  a  faint  call  was  heard 
from  the  sea,  and  the  woolly  skull  perceived  in  time  for  rescue. 

This  adventure  elevated  not  only  "  little  Theodore,"  but  our 
"  culinary  artist"  in  the  good  opinion  of  the  mess.  Every  Sat- 
urday night  my  African  friend  was  allowed  to  share  the  cheer 
of  the  forecastle,  while  our  captain  presented  him  with  a  certifi- 
cate of  his  meritorious  deed,  and  made  the  paper  more  palatable 
by  the  promise  of  a  liberal  bounty  in  current  coin  at  the  end  of 
the  voyage. 

I  now  began  to  feel  at  ease,  and  acquire  a  genuine  fondness 
for  sea  life.  My  aptitude  for  languages  not  only  familiarized  me 
with  English,  but  enabled  me  soon  to  begin  the  scientific  study 
of  navigation,  in  which,  I  am  glad  to  say,  that  Captain  Solomon 
Towne  was  always  pleased  to  aid  my  industrious  eiForts. 

We  touched  at  St.  Helena  for  supplies,  but  as  Napoleon  was 
still  alive,  a  British  frigate  met  us  within  five  miles  of  that  rock- 
bound  coast,  and  after  furnishing  a  scant  supply  of  water,  bade 
us  take  our  way  homeward. 

I  remember  very  well  that  it  was  a  fine  night  in  July,  1820, 
when  we  touched  the  wharf  at  Boston,  Massachusetts.  Captain 
Towne's  family  resided  in  Salem,  and,  of  course,  he  was  soon  on 
his  way  thither.  The  new  mate  had  a  young  wife  in  Boston,  and 
he,  too,  was  speedily  missing.  One  by  one,  the  crew  sneaked  off 
in  the  darkness.  The  second  mate  quickly  found  an  excuse  for 
a  visit  in  the  neighborhood ;  so  that,  by  midnight,  the  Galatea, 
with  a  cargo  valued  at  about  one  hundred  and  twenty  thousand 
dollars,  was  intrusted  to  the  watchfulness  of  a  stripling  cabin- 
boy. 

I  do  not  say  it  boastfully,  but  it  is  true  that,  whenever  I 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  t) 

have  been  placed  in  responsible  situations,  from  the  ear7/est 
period  of  mj  recollection,  I  felt  an  immediate  stirring  of  that 
pride  which  always  made  me  equal,  or  at  least  willing,  for  the 
required  duty.  All  night  long  I  paced  the  deck.  Of  all  the 
wandering  crowd  that  had  accompanied  me  nearly  a  year  across 
many  seas,  I  alone  had  no  companions,  friends,  home,  or  sweet- 
heart, to  seduce  me  from  my  craft  ;  and  I  confess  that  the  senti- 
ment of  loneliness,  which,  under  other  circumstances,  might  have 
unmanned  me  at  my  American  greeting,  was  stifled  by  the  min- 
gled vanity  and  pride  with  which  I  trod  the  quarter-deck  as  tem- 
porary captain. 

When  dawn  ripened  into  daylight,  I  remembered  the  stirring 
account  my  shipmates  had  given  of  the  beauty  of  Boston,  and  I 
suddenly  felt  disposed  to  imitate  the  example  of  my  fellow-sail- 
ors. Honor,  however,  checked  my  feet  as  they  moved  towards 
the  ship's  ladder  ;  so  that,  instead  of  descending  her  side,  I 
closed  the  cabin  door,  and  climbed  to  the  main-royal  yard,  to  see 
the  city  at  least,  if  I  could  not  mingle  with  its  inhabitants.  I 
expected  to  behold  a  second  Calcutta  ;  but  my  fancy  was  not  gra- 
tified. Instead  of  observing  the  long,  glittering  lines  of  palaces 
and  villas  I  left  in  India  and  on  the  Tuscan  shore,  my  Italian 
eyes  were  first  of  all  saluted  by  dingy  bricks  and  painted  boards. 
But.  as  my  sight  wandered  away  from  the  town,  and  swept  down 
both  sides  of  the  beautiful  bay,  filled  with  its  lovely  islands,  and 
dressed  in  the  fresh  greenness  of  summer,  I  confess  that  my 
memory  and  heart  were  magically  carried  away  into  the  heart  of 
Italy,  playing  sad  tricks  with  my  sense  of  duty,  when  I  was 
abruptly  restored  to  consciousness  by  hearing  the  heavy  foot- 
fall of  a  stranger  on  deck. 

The  intruder — as  well  as  I  could  see  from  aloft — seemed  to 
be  a  stout,  elderly  person.  I  did  not  delay  to  descend  the  rat- 
lins, but  slid  down  a  back-stay,  just  in  time  to  meet  the  stran- 
ger as  he  approached  our  cabin.  My  notions  of  Italian  manners 
did  not  yet  permit  me  to  appreciate  the  greater  freedom  and 
social  liberty  with  which  I  have  since  become  so  familiar  in 
America,  and  it  may  naturally  be  supposed  that  I  was  rather 
peremptory  in   ordering  the   inquisitive  Bostonian  to  leave  the 


6  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

ship.  I  was  in  command — in  my  first  command ;  and  so  uncere- 
monious a  visit  was  peculiarly  annoying.  Nor  did  the  conduct 
of  the  intruder  lessen  my  anger,  as,  quietly  smiling  at  my  order, 
he  continued  moving  around  the  ship,  and  peered  into  every  nook 
and  corner.  Presently  he  demanded  whether  I  was  alone  ? 
My  self-possession  was  quite  sufficient  to  leave  the  question  un- 
answered ;  but  I  ordered  him  off  again,  and,  to  enforce  my  com- 
mand, called  a  dog  that  did  not  exist.  My  ruse^  however,  did 
not  succeed.  The  Yankee  still  continued  his  examination,  while 
I  followed  closely  on  his  heels,  now  and  then  twitching  the  long 
skirts  of  his  surtout  to  enforce  my  mandate  for  his  departure. 

During  this  promenade,  my  unwelcome  guest  questioned  me 
about  the  captain's  health, — about  the  mate, — as  to  the  cause  of 
his  dismissal, — about  our  cargo, — and  the  length  of  our  voyage. 
Each  new  question  begot  a  shorter  and  more  surly  answer.  I 
was  perfectly  satisfied  that  he  was  not  only  a  rogue,  but  a  most 
impudent  one  ;  and  my  Pranco-Italian  temper  strained  almost  to 
bursting. 

By  this  time,  we  approached  the  house  which  covered  the 
steering-gear  at  the  ship's  stern,  and  in  which  were  buckets  con- 
taining a  dozen  small  turtles,  purchased  at  the  island  of  Ascen- 
sion, where  we  stopped  to  water  after  the  refusal  at  St.  Helena. 
The  turtle  at  once  attracted  the  stranger's  notice,  and  he  promptly 
offered  to  purchase  them.  I  stated  that  only  half  the  lot  be- 
longed to  me,  but  that  I  would  sell  the  whole,  provided  he 
was  able  to  pay.  In  a  moment,  my  persecutor  drew  forth  a  well- 
worn  pocket-book,  and  handing  me  six  dollars,  asked  whether  I 
was  satisfied  with  the  price.  The  dollars  were  unquestionable 
gleams,  if  not  absolute  proofs,  of  honesty,  and  I  am  sure  my 
heart  would  have  melted  had  not  the  purchaser  insisted  on  taking 
one  of  the  buckets  to  convey  the  turtles  home.  Now,  as  these 
charming  implements  were  part  of  the  ship's  pride,  as  well  as 
property,  and  had  been  laboriously  adorned  by  our  marine  artists 
with  a  spread  eagle  and  the  vessel's  name,  I  resisted  the  demand, 
offering,  at  the  same  time,  to  return  the  money.  But  my  turtle- 
dealer  was  not  to  be  repulsed  so  easily ;  his  ugly  smile  still 
sneered  in  my  face  as  he  endeavored  to  push  me  asido  and  drag 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  7 

the  bucket  from  my  hand.  I  soon  found  that  he  was  the  stronger 
of  the  two,  and  that  it  would  be  impossible  for  me  to  rescue  my 
bucket  fairly ;  so,  giving  it  a  sudden  twist  and  shake,  I  contrived 
to  upset  both  water  and  turtles  on  the  deck,  thus  sprinkling  the 
feet  and  coat-tails  of  the  veteran  with  a  copious  ablution.  To 
my  surprise,  however,  the  tormentor's  cursed  grin  not  only  con- 
tinued but  absolutely  expanded  to  an  immoderate  laugh,  the  up- 
roariousness  of  which  was  increased  by  another  suspicious  Bosto- 
nian,  who  leaped  on  deck  during  our  dispute.  By  this  time  I  was 
in  a  red  heat.  My  lips  were  white,  my  cheeks  in  a  blaze,  and  my 
eyes  sparks.  Beyond  myself  with  ferocious  rage,  I  gnashed  my 
teeth,  and  buried  them  in  the  hand  which  I  could  not  otherwise 
release  from  its  grasp  on  the  bucket.  In  the  scramble,  I  either 
lost  or  destroyed  part  of  ray  bank  notes  ;  yet,  being  conqueror 
at  last,  I  became  clement,  and  taking  up  my  turtles,  once  more 
insisted  upon  the  departure  of  my  annoyers.  There  is  no  doubt 
that  I  larded  my  language  with  certain  epithets,  ver}^  current 
among  sailors,  most  of  which  are  learned  more  rapidly  by  foreign- 
ers than  the  politer  parts  of  speech. 

Still  the  abominable  monster,  nothing  daunted  by  my  on- 
slaught, rushed  to  the  cabin,  and  would  doubtless  have  de- 
scended, had  not  I  been  nimbler  than  he  in  reaching  the  doors, 
against  which  I  placed  my  back,  in  defiance.  Here,  of  course, 
another  battle  ensued,  enlivened  by  a  chorus  of  laughter  from  a 
crowd  of  laborers  on  the  wharf.  This  time  I  could  not  bite,  yet 
I  kept  the  apparent  thief  at  bay  with  my  feet,  kicking  his  shins 
unmercifully  whenever  he  approached,  and  swearing  in  the  choicest 
Tuscan. 

He  who  knows  any  thing  of  Italian  character,  especially  when 
it  is  additionally  spiced  by  French  condiments,  may  imagine  the 
intense  rage  to  which  so  volcanic  a  nature  as  mine  was,  by  this 
time,  fully  aroused.  Language  and  motion  were  nearly  exhaust- 
ed. I  could  neither  speak  nor  strike.  The  mind's  passion  had 
almost  produced  the  body's  paralysis.  Tears  began  to  fall  from 
my  eyes  :  but  still  he  laughed !  At  length,  I  suddenly  flung  wide 
the  cabin  doors,  and  leaping  below  at  a  bound,  seized  from  the 
rack  a  loaded  musket,  with  which  I  rushed  upon  deck.     As  soon 


8  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

as  the  muzzle  appeared  above  the  hatchway,  my  tormentor  sprang 
over  the  ship,  and  by  the  time  I  reached  the  ladder,  I  found  him 
on  the  wharf,  surrounded  by  a  laughing  and  shouting  crowd.  I 
shook  my  head  menacingly  at  the  group  ;  and  shouldering  my 
firelock,  mounted  guard  at  the  gangway.  It  was  fully  a  quarter 
of  an  hour  that  I  paraded  (occasionally  ramming  home  my  mus- 
ket's charge,  and  varying  the  amusement  by  an  Italian  defiance 
to  the  jesters),  before  the  tardy  mate  made  his  appearance  on 
the  wharf.  But  what  was  my  consternation,  when  I  beheld  him 
advance  deferentially  to  my  pestilent  visitor,  and  taking  off  his 
hat,  respectfully  offer  to  conduct  him  on  board  !  This  was  a 
great  lesson  to  me  in  life  on  the  subject  of  "  appearances."  The 
shabby  old  individual  was  no  less  a  personage  than  the  celebrated 
William  Gray,  of  Boston,  owner  of  the  Galatea  and  cargo,  and 
proprietor  of  many  a  richer  craft  then  floating  on  every  sea. 

But  Mr.  Gray  was  a  forgiving  enemy.  As  he  left  the  ship 
that  morning,  he  presented  me  fifty  dollars,  "  in  exchange,"  he 
said,  "  for  the  six  destroyed  in  protection  of  his  property ;  " 
and,  on  the  day  of  my  discharge,  he  not  only  paid  the  wages  of 
my  voyage,  but  added  fifty  dollars  more  to  aid  my  schooling  in 
scientific  navigation. 

Four  years  after,  I  again  met  this  distinguished  merchant  at 
the  Marlborough  Hotel,  in  Boston.  I  was  accompanied,  on  that 
occasion,  by  an  uncle  who  visited  the  United  States  on  a  com- 
mercial tour.  When  my  relative  mentioned  my  name  to  Mr. 
Gray,  that  gentleman  immediately  recollected  me,  and  told  my 
venerable  kinsman  that  he  never  received  such  abuse  as  I 
bestowed  on  him  in  July,  1820  !  The  sting  of  my  teeth,  he 
declared,  still  tingled  in  his  hand,  while  the  kicks  I  bestowed 
on  his  ankles,  occasionally  displayed  the  scars  they  had  left  on 
his  limbs.  He  seemed  particularly  annoyed,  however,  by  some 
caustic  remarks  I  had  made  about  his  protuberant  stomach,  and 
forgave  the  blows  but  not  the  language. 

My  uncle,  who  was  somewhat  of  a  tart  disciplinarian,  gave 
me  an  extremely  black  look,  while,  in  French,  he  demanded  an 
explanation  of  my  conduct.  I  knew  Mr.  Gray,  however,  better 
than  my  relative ;  and  so,  without  heeding  his  reprimand,  I  an- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  9 

swered,  in  English,  that  if  I  cursed  the  ship's  owner  on  that 
occasion,  it  was  my  debut  in  the  English  language  on  the  Ameri- 
can continent ;  and  as  my  Anglo-Saxon  education  had  been  j5n- 
ished  in  a  forecastle,  it  was  not  to  be  expected  I  should  be  select 
in  my  vocabulary.  "  Nevertheless,"  I  added,  "  Mr,  Gray  was 
so  delighted  with  my  accolade,  that  he  valued  my  defence  of  his 
property  and  our  delicious  tete-a-tete  at  the  sum  of  a  hundred 
dollars!" 


10  CAPTAIN  canot;  or. 


CHAPTER    II. 

The  anecdote  told  in  the  last  chapter  revived  my  uncle's  recol- 
lection of  several  instances  of  my  early  impetuosity  ;  among 
which  was  a  rencounter  with  Lord  Byron,  while  that  poet  was 
residing  at  his  villa  on  the  slope  of  Monte  Negro  near  Leghorn, 
which  he  took  the  liberty  to  narrate  to  Mr.  Grray. 

A  commercial  house  at  that  port,  in  which  my  uncle  had  some 
interest,  was  the  noble  lord's  banker  ; — and,  one  day,  while  my 
relative  and  the  poet  were  inspecting  some  boxes  recently  arrived 
from  Greece,  I  was  dispatched  to  see  them  safely  deposited  in 
the  warehouse.  Suddenly,  Lord  Byron  demanded  a  pencil.  My 
uncle  had  none  with  him,  but  remembering  that  I  had  lately 
been  presented  one  in  a  handsome  silver  case,  requested  the 
loan  of  it.  Now,  as  this  was  my  first  silver  possession,  I  was 
somewhat  reluctant  to  let  it  leave  my  possession  even  for  a  mo- 
ment, and  handed  it  to  his  lordship  with  a  bad  grace.  When  the 
poet  had  made  his  memorandum,  he  paused  a  moment,  as  if  lost 
in  thought,  and  then  very  unceremoniously — but,  doubtless,  in  a 
fit  of  abstraction — put  the  pencil  in  his  pocket.  If  I  had  already 
visited  America  at  that  time,  it  is  likely  that  I  would  have 
warned  the  Englishman  of  his  mistake  on  the  spot ;  but,  as 
children  in  the  Old  "World  are  rather  more  curbed  in  their  inter- 
course with  elders  than  on  this  side  of  the  Atlantic,  I  bore  the 
forgetfulness  as  well  as  I  could  until  next  morning.  Summoning 
all  my  resolution,  I  repaired  without  my  uncle's  knowledge  to 
the  poet's  house  at  an  early  hour,  and  after  much  difficulty  was 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  11 

admitted  to  his  room.  He  was  still  in  bed.  Every  body  has 
heard  of  Byron's  peevishness,  when  disturbed  or  intruded  on. 
He  demanded  my  business  in  a  petulant  and  offensive  tone.  I 
replied,  respectfully,  that  on  the  preceding  day  I  loaned  him  a 
silver  pencil, — strongly  emphasizing  and  repeating  the  word  silver^ 
— which,  I  was  grieved  to  say,  he  forgot  to  return.  Byron  reflect- 
ed a  moment,  and  then  declared  he  had  restored  it  to  me  on  the 
spot !  I  mildly  but  firmly  denied  the  fact ;  while  his  lordship 
as  sturdily  reasserted  it.  In  a  short  time,  we  were  both  in  such 
a  passion  that  Byron  commanded  me  to  leave  the  room.  I  edged 
out  of  the  apartment  with  the  slow,  defying  air  of  angry  boy- 
hood ;  but  when  I  reached  the  door,  I  suddenly  turned,  and 
looking  at  him  with  all  the  bitterness  I  felt  for  his  na.tion,  called 
him,  in  French,  "  an  English  hog  !  "  Till  then  our  quarrel  had 
been  waged  in  Italian.  Hardly  were  the  words  out  of  my  mouth 
when  his  lordship  leaped  from  the  bed,  and  in  the  scantiest  dra- 
pery imaginable,  seized  me  by  the  collar,  inflicting  such  a  shaking 
as  I  would  willingly  have  exchanged  for  a  tertian  ague  from  the 
Pontine  marshes.  The  sudden  air-bath  probably  cooled  his 
choler,  for,  in  a  few  moments,  we  found  ourselves  in  a  pacific  ex- 
planation about  the  luckless  pencil.  Hitherto  I  had  not  men- 
tioned my  uncle ;  but  the  moment  I  stated  the  relationship, 
Byron  became  pacified  and  credited  my  story.  After  searching 
his  pockets  once  more  ineffectually  for  the  lost  silver^  he  present- 
ed me  his  own  gold  pencil  instead,  and  requested  me  to  say  why 
I  "  cursed  him  hi  French  .'"' 

''  My  father  was  a  Frenchman,  my  lord,"  said  I. 

"  And  your  mother  ?  " 

"  She  is  an  Italian,  sir." 

"  Ah !  DO  wonder,  then,  you  called  me  an  *  English  hog.' 
The  hatred  runs  in  the  blood  ;  you  could  not  help  it." 

After  a  moment's  hesitation,  he  continued, — still  pacing  the 
apartment  in  his  night  linen,- — *'  You  don't  like  the  English,  do 
you,  my  boy  ?  " 

"  No,"  said  I,  ''  I  don't.' 

**  AVhy  ?  "  returned  Byron,  quietly. 

"  Because  my  father  died  fighting  them,"  replied  I. 


12  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

"  Then,  youngster,  you  have  a  right  to  hate  them,"  said  the 
poet,  as  he  put  me  gently  out  of  the  door,  and  locked  it  on  the 
inside. 

A  week  after,  one  of  the  porters  of  my  uncle's  warehouse 
oifered  to  sell,  at  an  exorbitant  price,  what  he  called  "  Lord 
Byron's  pencil,"  declaring  that  his  lordship  had  presented  it  to 
him.  My  uncle  was  on  the  eve  of  bargaining  with  the  man, 
when  he  perceived  his  own  initials  on  the  silver.  In  fact,  it  was 
my  lost  gift.  Byron,  in  his  abstraction,  had  evidently  mistaken 
the  porter  for  myself;  so  the  servant  was  rewarded  with  a  trifling 
gratuity,  while  my  virtuoso  uncle  took  the  liberty  to  appropriate 
the  golden  relic  of  Byron  to  himself,  and  put  me  off  with  the 
humbler  remembrance  of  his  honored  name. 

These,  however,  are  episodes.  Let  us  return  once  more  to 
the  Galatea  and  her  worthy  commander. 

Captain  Towne  retired  to  Salem  after  the  hands  were  dis- 
charged, and  took  me  with  him  to  reside  in  his  family  until  he 
was  ready  for  another  voyage.  In  looking  back  through  the  vista 
of  a  stormy  and  adventurous  life,  my  memory  lights  on  no  hap- 
pier days  than  those  spent  in  this  seafaring  emporium.  Salem, 
in  1821,  was  my  paradise.  I  received  more  kindness,  enjoyed 
more  juvenile  pleasures,  and  found  more  affectionate  hospitality 
in  that  comfortable  city  than  I  can  well  describe.  Every  boy 
was  my  friend.  No  one  laughed  at  my  broken  English,  but  on 
the  contrary,  all  seemed  charmed  by  my  foreign  accent.  People 
thought  proper  to  surround  me  with  a  sort  of  romantic  mystery, 
for,  perhaps,  there  was  a  flavor  of  the  dashing  dare-devil  in  my 
demeanor,  which  imparted  influence  over  homelier  companions 
Besides  this,  I  soon  got  the  reputation  of  a  scholar.  I  was  con- 
sidered a  marvel  in  languages,  inasmuch  as  I  spoke  French,  Ital- 
ian, Spanish,  English,  and  professed  a  familiarity  with  Latin.  I 
remember  there  was  a  wag  in  Salem,  who,  determining  one  day 
to  test  my  acquaintance  with  the  latter  tongue,  took  me  into  a 
neighboring  druggist's,  where  there  were  some  Latin  volumes, 
and  handed  me  one  with  the  request  to  translate  a  page,  either 
verbally  or  on  paper.  Fortunately,  the  book  he  produced  was 
^sop,  whose  fables  had  been  so  thoroughly  studied  by  me  two 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  13 

years  before,  that  I  even  knew  some  of  them  by  heart.  Still,  as 
I  was  not  very  well  versed  in  the  niceties  of  English,  I  thought 
it  prudent  to  make  my  version  of  the  selected  fable  in  French ; 
and,  as  there  was  a  neighbor  who  knew  the  latter  language  per- 
fectly, my  translation  was  soon  rendered  into  English,  and  the 
proficiency  of  the  "  Italian  boy  "  conceded. 

I  sailed  during  five  years  from  Salem  on  voyages  to  various 
parts  of  the  world,  always  employing  my  leisure,  while  on  shore 
and  at  sea,  in  familiarizing  myself  minutely  with  the  practical 
and  scientific  details  of  the  profession  to  which  I  designed  devot- 
ing my  life.  I  do  not  mean  to  narrate  the  adventures  of  those 
early  voyages,  but  I  cannot  help  setting  down  a  single  anecdote 
of  that  fresh  and  earnest  period,  in  order  to  illustrate  the 
changes  that  time  and  '•  circumstances  "  are  said  to  work  on 
human  character. 

In  my  second  voyage  to  India,  I  was  once  on  shore  with  the 
captain  at  Quallahbattoo,  in  search  of  pepper,  when  a  large  proa^ 
or  Malay  canoe,  arrived  at  the  landing  crammed  with  prisoners, 
from  one  of  the  islands.  The  unfortunate  victims  were  to  be 
sold  as  slaves.  They  were  the  first  slaves  I  had  seen  !  As  the 
human  cargo  was  disembarked,  I  observed  one  of  the  Malays 
dragging  a  handsome  young  female  by  the  hair  along  the  beach. 
Cramped  by  long  confinement  in  the  wet  bottom  of  the  canoe, 
the  shrieking  girl  was  unable  to  stand  or  walk.  My  blood  was 
up  quickly,  I  ordered  the  brute  to  desist  from  his  cruelty  ; 
and,  as  he  answered  with  a  derisive  laugh,  I  felled  him  to  the 
earth  with  a  single  blow  of  my  boat-hook.  This  impetuous  vin- 
dication of  humanity  forced  us  to  quit  Quallahbattoo  in  great 
haste  ;  but,  at  the  age  of  seventeen,  my  feelings  ia  regard  to 
slavery  were  very  difi'erent  from  what  this  narrative  may  disclose 
them  to  have  become  in  later  days. 

When  my  apprenticeship  was  over,  I  made  two  or  three  suc- 
cessful voyages  as  mate,  until — I  am  ashamed  to  say, — that  a 
"  disappointment "  caused  me  to  forsake  my  employers,  and  to 
yield  to  the  temptations  of  reckless  adventure.  This  sad  and 
early  blight  overtook  me  at  Antwerp, — a  port  rather  noted  for 


14  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

the  backslidings  of  young  seamen.  My  hard-earned  pay  soon 
diminished  very  sensibly,  while  I  was  desperately  in  love  with 
a  Belgian  beauty,  who  made  a  complete  fool  of  me — for  at  least 
three  months  !  From  Antwerp,  I  betook  myself  to  Paris  to  vent 
my  second  "  disappointment."  The  pleasant  capital  of  la  belle 
France  was  a  cup  that  I  drained  at  a  single  draught.  Few  young 
men  of  eighteen  or  twenty  have  lived  faster.  The  gaming  tables 
at  Frascati's  and  the  Palais  Royal  finished  my  consumptive 
purse  ;  and,  leaving  an  empty  trunk  as  a  recompense  for  my 
landlord,  I  took  "  French  leave"  one  fine  morning,  and  hastened 
to  sea. 

The  reader  will  do  me  the  justice  to  believe  that  nothing  but 
the  direst  necessity  compelled  me  to  embark  on  board  a  British 
vessel,  bound  to  Brazil.  The  captain  and  his  wife  who  accom- 
panied him,  were  both  stout,  handsome  Irish  people,  of  equal 
age,  but  addicted  to  fondness  for  strong  and  flavored  drinks. 

My  introduction  on  board  was  signalized  by  the  ceremonious 
bestowal  upon  me  of  the  key  of  the  spirit-locker,  with  a  strict 
injunction  from  the  commander  to  deny  more  than  three  glasses 
daily  either  to  his  wife  or  himself.  I  hardly  comprehended  this 
singular  order  at  first,  but,  in  a  few  days,  I  became  aware  of  its 
propriety.  About  eleven  o'clock  her  ladyship  generally  ap- 
proached when  I  was  serving  out  the  men's  ration  of  gin,  and 
requested  me  to  fill  her  tumbler.  Of  course,  I  gallantly  com- 
plied. When  I  returned  from  deck  below  with  the  bottle,  she 
again  required  a  similar  dose,  which,  with  some  reluctance,  I  fur- 
nished. At  dinner  the  dame  drank  porter^  but  passed  oflf  the 
gin  on  her  credulous  husband  as  water.  This  system  of  decep- 
tion continued  as  long  as  the  malt  liquor  lasted,  so  that  her  lady- 
ship received  and  swallowed  daily  a  triple  allowance  of  capital 
grog.  Indeed,  it  is  quite  astonishing  what  quantities  of  the 
article  can  sometimes  be  swallowed  by  seafaring  women.  The 
oddness  of  their  appetite  for  the  cordials  is  not  a  little  enhanced 
by  the  well-known  aversion  the  sex  have  to  spirituous  fluids,  in 
every  shape,  on  shore.  Perhaps  the  salt  air  may  have  something 
to  do  with  the  acquired  relish ;  but,  as  I  am  not  composing  an 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  1 


^ 


essay  on  temperance,  I  shall  leave  the  discussion  to  wiser  phy- 
siologists. 

My  companions'  indulgence  illustrated  another  diversity  be- 
tween the  sexes,  which  I  believe  is  historically  true  from  the 
earliest  records  to  the  present  day.  The  lady  broke  her  rule, 
but  the  captain  adhered  faithfully  to  his.  Whilst  on  duty,  the 
allotted  three  glasses  completed  his  potations.  But  when  we 
reached  Rio  de  Janeiro,  and  there  was  no  longer  need  of  absti- 
nence, save  for  the  sake  of  propriety,  both  my  shipmates  gave 
loose  to  their  thirst  and  tempers.  They  drank,  quarrelled,  and 
kissed,  with  more  frequency  and  fervor  than  any  creatures  it  has 
been  my  lot  to  encounter  throughout  an  adventurous  life.  After 
we  got  the  vessel  into  the  inner  harbor, — though  not  without 
a  mishap,  owing  to  the  captain's  drunken  stubbornness, — my  Irish 
friends  resolved  to  take  lodgings  for  a  while  on  shore.  For 
two  days  they  did  not  make  their  appearance  ;  but  toward  the 
close  of  the  third,  they  returned,  "  fresh,"  as  they  said,  "  from 
the  theatre."  It  was  very  evident  that  the  jolly  god  had  been 
their  companion ;  and,  as  I  was  not  a  little  scandalized  by  the 
conjugal  scenes  which  usually  closed  these  frolics,  I  hastened  to 
order  tea  under  the  awning  on  deck,  while  I  betook  myself  to  a 
hammock  which  was  slung  on  the  main  boom.  Just  as  I  fell  off 
into  pleasant  dreams,  I  was  roused  from  my  nap  by  a  prelude 
to  the  opera.  Madame  gave  her  lord  the  lie  direct.  A  loaf  of 
bread,  discharged  against  her  head  across  the  table,  was  his 
reply.  Not  content  with  this  harmless  demonstration  of  rage, 
he  seized  the  four  corners  of  the  table  cloth,  and  gathering  the 
tea-thiugs  and  food  in  the  sack,  threw  the  whole  overboard  into 
the  bay.  In  a  flash,  the  tigress  fastened  on  his  scanty  locks 
with  one  hand,  while,  with  the  other,  she  pummelled  his  eyes  and 
nose.  Badly  used  as  he  was,  I  must  confess  that  the  captain 
proved  too  generous  to  retaliate  on  that  portion  of  his  spouse 
where  female  charms  are  most  bewitching  and  visible  ;  still,  I 
am  much  mistaken  if  the  sound  spanking  she  received  did  not 
elsewhere  leave  marks  of  physical  vigor  that  would  have  been 
creditable  to  a  pugilist. 

It  was  remarkable  that  these  human  tornados  were  as  violent 


16  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

and  brief  as  those  which  scourge  tropical  lands  as  well  as  tropical 
characters.  In  a  quarter  of  an  hour  there  was  a  dead  calm. 
The  silence  of  the  night,  on  those  still  and  star-lit  waters,  was 
only  broken  by  a  sort  of  chirrup,  that  might  have  been  mistaken 
for  a  cricket,  but  which  I  think  was  a  kiss.  Indeed,  I  was 
rapidly  going  off  again  to  sleep,  when  I  was  called  to  give  the 
key  of  the  spirit-locker, — a  glorious  resource  that  never  failed  as 
a  solemn  seal  of  reconciliation  and  bliss. 

Next  morning,  before  I  awoke,  the  captain  went  ashore,  and 
when  his  wife,  at  breakfast,  inquired  my  knowledge  of  the  night's 
affray,  my  gallantry  forced  me  to  confess  that  I  was  one  of  the 
soundest  sleepers  on  earth  or  water,  and,  moreover,  that  I  was 
surprised  to  learn  there  had  been  the  least  difference  between 
such  happy  partners.  In  spite  of  my  simplicity,  the  lady  in- 
sisted on  confiding  her  griefs,  with  the  assurance  that  she  would 
not  have  been  half  so  angry  had  not  her  spouse  foolishly  thrown 
her  silver  spoons  into  the  sea,  with  the  bread  and  butter.  She 
grew  quite  eloquent  on  the  pleasures  of  married  life,  and  told  me 
of  many  a  similar  reproof  she  had  been  forced  to  give  her  hus- 
band during  their  voyages.  It  did  him  good,  she  said,  and  kept 
him  wholesome.  In  fact,  she  hoped,  that  if  ever  I  married,  I 
would  have  the  luck  to  win  a  guardian  like  herself.  Of  course, 
I  was  again  most  gallantly  silent.  Still,  I  could  not  help  reserv- 
ing a  decision  as  to  the  merits  of  matrimony ;  for  present  appear- 
ances certainly  did  not  demonstrate  the  bliss  I  had  so  often  read 
and  heard  of.  At  any  rate,  I  resolved,  that  if  ever  I  ventured 
upon  a  trial  of  love,  it  should,  at  least,  in  the  first  instance,  be 
love  without  liquor ! 

On  our  return  to  Europe  we  called  at  Dover  for  orders,  and 
found  that  Antwerp  was  our  destination.  We  made  sail  at  sun- 
set, but  as  the  wind  was  adverse  and  the  weather  boisterous,  we 
anchored  for  two  days  in  the  Downs.  At  length,  during  a  lull 
of  the  gale,  we  sailed  for  the  mouth  of  the  Scheldt ;  but,  as  we 
approached  the  coast  of  Holland,  the  wind  became  light  and 
baffling,  so  that  we  were  unable  to  enter  the  river.  We  had 
not  taken  a  pilot  at  Ramsgate,  being  confident  of  obtaining  one 
off"  Flushing.     At  sundown,  the  storm  again  arose  in  all  its  fury 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  17 

from  the  northwest ;  but  all  attempts  to  put  back  to  England 
■were  unavailing,  for  we  dared  not  show  a  rag  of  sail  before  the 
howling  tempest.  It  was,  indeed,  a  fearful  night  of  wind,  hail, 
darkness,  and  anxiety.  At  two  o'clock  in  the  morning,  we 
suddenly  grounded  on  one  of  the  numerous  banks  off  Flushing. 
Hardly  had  we  struck  when  the  sea  made  a  clean  sweep  over  us, 
covering  the  decks  with  sand,  and  snapping  the  spars  like  pipe- 
stems.  The  captain  was  killed  instantly  by  the  fall  of  a  top-gal- 
lant yard,  which  crushed  his  skull ;  while  the  sailors,  who  in  such 
moments  seem  possessed  by  utter  recklessness,  broke  into  the 
spirit-room  and  drank  to  excess.  For  awhile  I  had  some  hope 
that  the  stanchness  of  our  vessel's  hull  might  enable  us  to  cling 
to  her  till  daylight,  but  she  speedily  bilged  and  began  to  fill. 

After  this  it  would  have  been  madness  to  linger.  The  boats 
were  still  safe.  The  long  one  was  quickly  filled  by  the  crew,  un- 
der the  command  of  the  second  mate — who  threw  an  anker  of 
gin  into  the  craft  before  he  leaped  aboard, — while  I  reserved  the 
jolly-boat  for  myself,  the  captain's  widow,  the  cook,  and  the  stew- 
ard.    The  long-boat  was  never  heard  of. 

All  night  long  that  dreadful  nor'wcster  howled  along  and 
lashed  the  narrow  sea  between  England  and  the  Continent ;  yet 
I  kept  our  frail  skiflF  before  it,  hoping,  at  daylight,  to  descry  the 
lowlands  of  Belgium.  The  heart-broken  woman  rested  motion- 
less in  the  stern-sheets.  We  covered  her  with  all  the  available 
garments,  and,  even  in  the  midst  of  our  own  griefs,  could  not 
help  feeling  that  the  suddenness  of  her  double  desolation  had 
made  her  perfectly  unconscious  of  our  dreary  surroundings. 

Shortly  after  eight  o'clock  a  cry  of  joy  announced  the  sight 
of  land  within  a  short  distance.  The  villagers  of  Bragden,  who 
soon  descried  us,  hastened  to  the  beach,  and  rushing  knee-deep 
into  the  water,  signalled  that  the  shore  was  safe  after  passing  the 
surf.  The  sea  was  churned  by  the  storm  into  a  perfect  foam. 
Breakers  roared,  gathered,  and  poured  along  like  avalanches. 
Still,  there  was  no  hope  for  us  but  in  passing  the  line  of  these 
angry  sentinels.  Accordingly,  I  watched  the  swell,  and  pulling 
firmly,  bow  on,  into  the  first  of  the  breakers,  we  spun  with  such 
arrowy  swiftness  across  the  intervening  space,  that  I  recollect 


18  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

nothing  until  we  were  clasped  in  the  arms  of  the  brawny  Belgi- 
ans on  the  beach. 

But,  alas  !  the  poor  widow  was  no  more.  I  cannot  imagine 
when  she  died.  During  the  four  hours  of  our  passage  from  the 
wreck  to  land,  her  head  rested  on  my  lap  ;  yet  no  spasm  of  pain 
or  convulsion  marked  the  moment  of  her  departure. 

That  night  the  parish  priest  buried  the  unfortunate  lady,  and 
afterwards  carried  round  a  plate,  asking  alms, — not  for  masses  to 
insure  the  repose  of  her  soul, — but  to  defray  the  expenses  of 
the  living  to  Ostend. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  19 


•  CHAPTER    III. 

I  HAD  no  time  or  temper  to  be  idle.  In  a  week,  I  was  on  board 
a  Dutch  galliot,  bound  to  Havana ;  but  I  soon  perceived  that  I 
was  again  under  the  command  of  two  captains — male  and  female. 
The  regular  master  superintended  the  navigation,  while  the 
bloomer  controlled  the  whole  of  us.  Indeed,  the  dame  was  the 
actual  owner  of  the  craft,  and,  from  skipper  to  cabin-boy,  gov- 
erned not  only  our  actions  but  our  stomachs.  I  know  not 
whether  it  was  piety  or  economy  that  swayed  her  soul,  but  I 
never  met  a  person  who  was  so  rigid  as  this  lady  in  the  obser- 
vance of  the  church  calendar,  especially  whenever  a  day  of  absti- 
nence allowed  her  to  deprive  us  of  our  beef.  Nothing  but  my 
destitution  compelled  me  to  ship  in  this  craft ;  still,  to  say  the 
truth,  I  had  well-nigh  given  up  all  idea  of  returning  to  the 
United  States,  and  determined  to  engage  in  any  adventurous  ex- 
pedition that  my  profession  oflfered.  In  1824,  it  will  be  remem- 
bered, Mexico,  the  Spanish  main,  Peru,  and  the  Pacific  coasts, 
were  renowned  for  the  fortunes  they  bestowed  on  enterprise  ; 
and,  as  the  galliot  was  bound  to  Havana,  I  hailed  her  as  a  sort 
of  floating  bridge  to  my  El  Dorado. 

On  the  seventh  night  after  our  departure,  while  beating  out 
of  the  bay  of  Biscay  with  a  six-knot  breeze,  in  a  clear  moonlight, 
we  ran  foul  of  a  vessel  which  approached  us  on  the  opposite  tack. 
Whence  she  sprang  no  one  could  tell.    In  an  instant,  she  appear- 


20  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

ed  and  was  on  us  with  a  dreadful  concussion.  Every  man  was 
prostrated  on  deck  and  all  our  masts  were  carried  away.  From 
the  other  vessel  we  heard  shrieks  and  a  cry  of  despair;  but  the 
ill-omened  miscreant  disappeared  as  rapidly  as  she  approached, 
and  left  us  floating  a  helpless  log,  on  a  sea  proverbial  for  storms. 

We  contrived,  however,  to  reach  the  port  of  Ferrol,  in 
Spain,  where  we  were  detained  four  months,  in  consequence  of  the 
difficulty  of  obtaining  the  materials  for  repairs,  notwithstanding 
this  place  is  considered  the  best  and  largest  ship  yard  of  Cas- 
tile. 

It  was  at  Ferrol  that  I  met  with  a  singular  adventure,  which 
was  well-nigh  depriving  me  of  my  personal  identity,  as  I*eter 
Sehlemhil  was  deprived  of  his  shadow.  I  went  one  afternoon  in 
my  boat  to  the  other  side  of  the  harbor  to  obtain  some  pieces  of 
leather  from  a  tannery,  and,  having  completed  my  purchase,  was 
lounging  slowly  towards  the  quay,  when  I  stopped  at  a  house  for 
a  drink  of  water.  I  was  handed  a  tumbler  by  the  trim-built, 
black-eyed  girl,  who  stood  in  the  doorway,  and  whose  rosy  lips 
and  sparkling  eyes  were  more  the  sources  of  my  thirst  than  the 
water;  but,  while  I  was  drinking,  the  damsel  ran  into  the  dwel- 
ling, and  hastily  returned  with  her  mother  and  another  sister, 
who  stared  at  me  a  moment  without  saying  a  word,  and  simulta- 
neously fell  upon  my  neck,  smothering  my  lips  and  cheeks 
with  repeated  kisses  ! 

"  Oh  !  mi  querido  hijo^''  said  the  mother. 

"  Cari&siino  Antonio,''^  sobbed  the  daughter. 

*'  Mi  hermano  !  "  exclaimed  her  sister. 

"  Dear  son,  dear  Antonio,  dear  brother  !  Come  into  the 
house ;  where  have  you  been  ?  Your  grandmother  is  dying  to 
see  you  once  more  !  Don't  delay  an  instant,  but  come  in  without 
a  word  !  Por  dios  !  that  we  should  have  caught  you  at  last,  and 
in  such  a  way  :  Ave  Maria  !  madrecita,  aqui  viene  Antonitol  " 

In  the  midst  of  all  these  exclamations,  embraces,  fondlings, 
and  kisses,  it  may  easily  be  imagined  that  I  stood  staring  about 
me  with  wide  eyes  and  mouth,  and  half  drained  tumbler  in  hand, 
like  one  in  a  dream.  I  asked  no  questions,  but  as  the  dame  was 
buxom,  and  the  girls  were  fresh,  I  kissed  in  return,  and  followed 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  21 

unreluctantly  as  they  half  dragged,  half  carried  me  into  their 
domicil.  On  the  door  sill  of  the  inner  apartment  I  found  myself 
locked  in  the  skinny  arms  of  a  brown  and  withered  crone,  who 
was  said  to  be  my  grandmother,  and,  of  course,  my  youthful 
moustache  was  properly  bedewed  with  the  moisture  of  her 
toothless  mouth. 

As  soon  as  I  was  seated,  I  took  the  liberty  to  say, — though 
without  any  protest  against  this  charming  assault,  —  that  I 
fancied  there  might  possibly  be  some  mistake ;  but  I  was 
quickly  silenced.  My  madrecita  declared  at  once,  and  in  the 
presence  of  my  four  shipmates,  that,  six  years  before,  I  left  her 
on  my  first  voyage  in  a  Dutch  vessel ;  that  my  querido  padre, 
had  gone  to  bliss  two  years  after  my  departure ;  and,  according- 
ly, that  now,  I,  Antonio  Gomez  y  Carrasco,  was  the  only  sur- 
viving male  of  the  family,  and,  of  course,  would  never  more  quit 
either  her,  my  darling  sisters,  or  the  old  'pobrecita,  our  grand- 
mother. This  florid  explanation  was  immediately  closed  like  the 
pleasant  air  of  an  opera  by  a  new  chorus  of  kisses,  nor  can 
there  be  any  doubt  that  I  responded  to  the  embraces  of  my  sweet 
hermanas  with  the  most  gratifying  fraternity. 

Our  charming  quartette  lasted  in  all  its  harmony  for  half  an 
hour,  during  which  volley  after  volley  of  family  secrets  was  dis- 
charged into  my  eager  ears.  So  rapid  was  the  talk,  and  so 
quickly  was  its  thread  taken  up  and  spun  out  by  each  of  the 
three,  that  I  had  no  opportunity  to  interpose.  At  length, 
however,  in  a  momentary  lull  and  in  a  jocular  manner, — but  in 
rather  bad  Spanish, — I  ventured  to  ask  my  loving  and  talkative 
mamma,  "  what  amount  of  property  my  worthy  father  had  deemed 
proper  to  leave  on  earth  for  his  son  when  he  took  his  departure 
to  rest  con  Dios  ?  "  I  thought  it  possible  that  this  agreeable 
drama  was  a  Spanish  joke,  got  up  aV  improvista,  and  that  I 
might  end  it  by  exploding  the  dangerous  mine  of  money :  besides 
this,  it  was  growing  late,  and  my  return  to  the  galliot  was 
imperative. 

But  alas  !  my  question  brought  tears  in  an  instant  into  my 
mother's  eyes,  and  I  saw  that  the  scene  was^^o^;  a  jest.  Accordingly, 
I  hastened,  in  all  seriousness,  to  explain  and  insist  on  their  error. 


22 


CAPTAIN    CANOT  )    OR, 


I  protested  with  all  the  force  of  my  Franco-Italian  nature  and 
Spanish  rhetoric,  against  the  assumed  relationship.  But  all 
was  unavailing  ;  they  argued  and  persisted  ;  they  brought  in  the 
neighbors ;  lots  of  old  women  and  old  men,  with  rusty  cloaks  or 
shawls,  with  cigars  or  cigarillos  in  mouth,  formed  a  jury  of 
inquest ;  so  that,  in  the  end,  there  was  an  unanimous  verdict  in 
favor  of  my  Galician  nativity  ! 

Finding  matters  had  indeed  taken  so  serious  a  turn,  and  know- 
ing the  impossibility  of  eradicating  an  impression  from  the  female 
mind  when  it  becomes  imbedded  with  so  much  apparent  con- 
viction, I  resolved  to  yield ;  and,  assuming  the  manner  of  a 
penitent  prodigal,  I  kissed  the  girls,  embraced  my  mother, 
passed  my  head  over  both  shoulders  of  my  grand-dame,  and 
promised  my  progenitors  a  visit  next  day. 

As  I  did  not  keep  my  word,  and  two  suns  descended  without 
my  return,  the  imaginary  "  mother  "  applied  to  the  ministers  of 
law  to  enforce  her  rights  over  the  truant  boy.  The  Alcalde^ 
after  hearing  my  story,  dismissed  the  claim  ;  but  my  dissatisfied 
relatives  summoned  me,  on  appeal,  before  the  governor  of  the 
district,  nor  was  it  without  infinite  difficulty  that  I  at  last 
succeeded  in  shaking  ofi"  their  annoying  consanguinity. 

I  have  always  been  at  a  loss  to  account  for  this  queer  mis- 
take. It  is  true  that  my  father  was  in  Spain  with  the  French 
army  during  Napoleon's  invasion,  but  that  excellent  gentleman 
was  a  faithful  spouse  as  well  as  valiant  soldier,  and  I  do  not 
remember  that  he  ever  sojourned  in  the  pleasant  port  of  Fer- 
rol! 

At  length,  we  sailed  for  Havana,  and  nothing  of  importance 
occurred  to  break  the  monotony  of  our  hot  and  sweltering  voyage, 
save  a  sudden  flurry  of  jealousy  on  the  part  of  the  captain,  who 
imagined  I  made  an  attempt  to  conquer  the  pious  and  economical 
heart  of  his  wife  !  In  truth,  nothing  was  further  from  my  mind 
or  taste  than  such  an  enterprise  ;  but  as  the  demon  had  complete 
possession  of  him,  and  his  passion  was  stimulated  by  the  lies  of 
a  cabin  boy,  I  was  forced  to  undergo  an  inquisitorial  examina- 
tion, which  I  resisted  manfully  but  fruitlessly.     The  Bloomer- 


TWENTY    YEARS   OF   AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  23 

dame,  who  knew  her  man,  assumed  such  an  air  of  outraged 
innocence  and  calumniated  virtue,  interlarded  with  sobs,  tears, 
and  hysterics,  that  her  perplexed  husband  was  quite  at  his  wit's 
end,  but  terminated  the  scene  by  abruptly  ordering  me  to  my 
state-room. 

This  was  at  nightfall.  I  left  the  cabin  willingly  but  with 
great  mortification ;  yet  the  surly  pair  eyed  each  other  with 
so  much  anger  that  I  had  some  fear  for  the  denouemeMt.  I 
know  not  what  passed  during  the  silent  watches  of  that  night ; 
but  doubtless  woman's  witchcraft  had  much  to  do  in  pouring  oil 
on  the  seared  heart  of  the  skipper.  At  daylight  he  emerged 
from  his  cabin  with  orders  to  have  the  tell  tale  cabin  boy 
soundly  thrashed  ;  and,  when  Madame  mounted  the  deck,  I  saw 
at  a  glance  that  her  influence  was  completely  restored.  Nor 
was  I  neglected  in  this  round  of  reconciliation.  In  the  course 
of  the  day,  I  was  requested  to  resume  my  duty  on  board,  but  I 
stubbornly  refused.  Indeed,  my  denial  caused  the  captain  great 
uneasiness,  for  he  was  a  miserable  navigator,  and,  now  that  we 
approached  the  Bahamas,  my  services  were  chiefly  requisite. 
The  jealous  scamp  was  urgent  in  desiring  me  to  forget  the  past 
and  resume  duty ;  still  I  declined,  especially  as  his  wife  infurm- 
ed  me  in  private  that  there  would  perhaps  be  peril  in  my  com- 
pliance. 

The  day  after  we  passed  the  "  Hole  in  the  Wall"  and  steered 
for  Salt  Key,  we  obtained  no  meridian  observation,  and  no  one 
on  board,  except  myself,  was  capable  of  taking  a  lunar,  which  in 
our  position,  among  unknown  keys  and  currents,  was  of  the 
greatest  value.  I  knew  this  troubled  the  skipper,  yet,  after  his 
wife's  significant  warning,  I  did  not  think  it  wise  to  resume  my 
functions.  Nevertheless,  I  secretly  made  calculations  and 
watched  the  vessel's  course.  Another  day  went  by  without  a 
noontide  observation  ;  but,  at  midnight,  I  furtively  obtained  a 
lunar,  by  the  result  of  which  I  found  we  were  drifting  close  to 
the  Cuba  reefs,  about  five  miles  from  the  Cruz  del  Padre. 

As  soon  as  I  was  sure  of  my  calculation  and  sensible  of  im- 
minent danger,  I  did  not  hesitate  to  order  the  second  officer, — 
whose  watch  it  was, — to  call   all  hands   and  tack  ship.     At  the 


24  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

same  time,  I  directed  the  helmsman  to  luff  the  galliot  close  into 
the  wind's  eye. 

But  the  new  mate,  proud  of  his  command,  refused  to  obey 
until  the  captain  was  informed ;  nor  would  he  call  that  ofl&cer, 
inasmuch  as  no  danger  was  visible  ahead  on  the  allotted  course. 
But  time  was  precious.  Delay  would  lose  us.  As  I  felt  confi- 
dent of  my  opinion,  I  turned  abruptly  from  the  disobedient 
mariners,  and  letting  go  the  main  brace,  brought  the  vessel  to 
with  the  topsail  aback.  Quickly,  then,  I  ordered  the  watch  as 
it  rushed  aft,  to  clew  up  the  mainsail ; — but  alas  !  no  one  would 
obey;  and,  in  the  fracas,  the  captain,  who  rushed  on  deck  igno- 
rant of  the  facts  or  danger,  ordered  me  back  to  my  state-room 
with  curses  for  my  interference  in  his  skilful  navigation. 

With  a  shrug  of  my  shoulders,  I  obeyed.  Remonstrance  was 
useless.  For  twenty  minutes  the  galliot  cleft  the  waters  on  her 
old  course,  when  the  look-out  screamed  :  "  Hard  up  ! — rocks  and 
breakers  dead  a-head  ! " 

"  Put  down  the  helm  !  "  yelled  the  confused  second-mate; — 
but  the  galliot  lost  her  headway,  and,  taken  aback,  shaved  the 
edge  of  a  foam-covered  rock,  dropping  astern  on  a  reef  with 
seven  feet  water  around  her. 

All  was  consternation  ; — sails  flapping ;  breakers  roaring  ; 
ropes  snapping  and  beating  ;  masts  creaking ;  hull  thumping ; 
men  shouting !  The  captain  and  his  wife  were  on  deck  in  the 
wink  of  an  eye.  Every  one  issued  an  order  and  no  one  obeyed. 
At  last,  the  lady  shouted — "  let  go  the  anchor  !  " — the  worst 
command  that  could  be  given, —  and  down  went  the  best  bower 
and  the  second  anchor,  while  the  vessel  swung  round,  and  dashed 
flat  on  both  of  them.  No  one  seemed  to  think  of  clewing  up  the 
sails,  and  thereby  lessening  the  impetuous  surges  of  the  unfor- 
tunate galliot. 

Our  sad  mishap  occurred  about  one  o'clock  in  the  morning. 
Fortunately  there  was  not  much  wind  and  the  sea  was  tolerably 
calm,  so  that  we  could  recognize,  and,  in  some  degree,  control 
our  situation  ; — yet,  every  thing  on  board  appeared  given  over 
to  Batavian  stupidity  and  panic. 

My  own  feelings  may  be  understood  by  those  who  have  calmly 


TWENTY    YEARS  OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  25 

passed  through  danger,  "while  they  beheld  their  companions  un- 
manned by  fear  or  lack  of  coolness.  There  was  no  use  of  my  in- 
terference, for  no  one  would  heed  me.  At  last  the  captain's  wife, 
who  was  probably  the  most  collected  individual  on  board,  called 
my  name  loudly,  and  in  the  presence  of  officers  and  crew,  who, 
by  this  time  were  generally  crowded  on  the  quarter-deck,  en- 
treated me  to  save  her  ship  ! 

Of  course,  I  sprang  to  duty.  Every  sail  was  clewed  up, 
while  the  anchors  were  weighed  to  prevent  our  thumping  on 
them.  I  next  ordered  the  boats  to  be  lowered  ;  and,  taking  a 
crew  in  one,  directed  the  captain  to  embark  in  another  to  seek  an 
escape  from  our  perilous  trap.  At  daylight,  we  ascertained  that 
we  had  crossed  the  edge  of  the  reef  at  high  water,  yet  it  would 
be  useless  to  attempt  to  force  her  back,  as  she  was  already  half  a 
foot  buried  in  the  soft  and  mushy  outcroppings  of  coral. 

Soon  after  sunrise,  we  beheld,  at  no  great  distance,  one  of 
those  low  sandy  keys  which  are  so  well  known  to  West  Indian 
navigators;  while,  further  in  the  distance,  loomed  up  the  blue 
and  beautiful  outline  of  the  highlands  of  Cuba.  The  sea  was 
not  much  ruffled  by  swell  or  waves  ;  but  as  we  gazed  at  the  key, 
which  we  supposed  deserted,  we  saw  a  boat  suddenly  shoot  from 
behind  one  of  its  points  and  approach  our  wreck.  The  visitors 
were  five  in  number ;  their  trim,  beautiful  boat  was  completely 
furnished  with  fishing  implements,  and  four  of  the  hands  spoke 
Spanish  only,  while  the  patron^  or  master,  addressed  us  in  French. 
The  whole  crew  were  dressed  in  flannel  shirts,  the  skirts  of  which 
were  belted  by  a  leather  strap  over  their  trowsers,  and  when  the 
wind  suddenly  dashed  the  flannel  aside,  I  saw  they  had  long 
knives  concealed  beneath  it. 

The  patron  of  these  fellows  offered  to  aid  us  in  lightening  the 
galliot  and  depositing  the  cargo  on  the  key ;  where,  he  said,  there 
was  a  hut  in  whiqh  he  would  guarantee  the  safety  of  our  merchan- 
dise until,  at  the  full  of  the  moon,  we  could  float  the  vessel  from 
the  reef.  He  offered,  moreover,  to  pilot  us  out  of  harm's  way; 
and,  for  all  his  services  in  salvage,  we  were  to  pay  him  a  thou- 
sand dollars. 

"While  the  master  was  busy  making  terms,  his  companions  were 
2 


26  #  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

mmmaging  the  galliot  in  order  to  ascertain  our  cargo  and  arma- 
ment. It  was  finally  agreed  by  the  captain  and  his  petticoat 
commodore,  that  if,  by  evening  and  the  return  of  tide,  our  gal- 
liot would  not  float,  we  would  accept  the  wreckers'  offer ;  and, 
accordingly,  I  was  ordered  to  inform  them  of  the  resolution. 

As  soon  as  I  stated  our  assent,  the  patron^  suddenly  assum- 
ed an  air  of  deliberation,  and  insisted  that  the  money  should  be 
paid  in  hard  cash  on  the  spot,  and  not  by  drafts  on  Havana,  as 
originally  required.  I  thought  the  demand  a  significant  one,  and 
hoped  the  joint  partners  would  neither  yield  nor  admit  their 
ability  to  do  so  ;  but,  unfortunately,  they  assented  at  once.  The 
nod  and  wink  I  saw  the  •patron  immediately  bestow  on  one  of 
his  companions,  satisfied  me  of  the  imprudence  of  the  concession 
and  the  justice  of  my  suspicions. 

The  fishermen  departed  to  try  their  luck  on  the  sea,  pro- 
mising to  be  back  at  sunset,  on  their  way  to  the  island.  We 
spent  the  day  in  fruitless  efforts  to  relieve  the  galliot  or  to  find 
a  channel,  so  that  when  the  Spaniards  returned  in  the  afternoon 
with  a  rather  careless  reiteration  of  their  proposal,  our  captam, 
with  some  eagerness,  made  his  final  arrangements  for  the  cargo's 
discharge  early  next  morning.  Our  skipper  had  visited  the  key 
in  the  course  of  the  day,  and  finding  the  place  of  deposit  appa- 
rently safe,  and  every  thing  else  seemingly  honest,  he  was  anx- 
ious that  the  night  might  pass  in  order  that  the  disembarkation 
might  begin. 

The  calm  quiet  of  that  tropic  season  soon  wore  away,  and, 
when  I  looked  landward,  at  day-dawn,  I  perceived  two  strange 
boats  at  anchor  near  the  key.  As  this  gave  me  some  uneasiness, 
I  mentioned  it  to  the  captain  and  his  wife,  but  they  laughed  at 
my  suspicions.  After  an  early  meal  we  began  to  discharge  our 
heaviest  cargo  with  the  fishermen's  aid,  yet  we  made  little  pro- 
gress towards  completion  by  the  afternoon.  At  sunset,  accounts 
were  compared,  and  finding  a  considerable  difference  in  favor 
of  the  wreckers,  I  was  dispatched  ashore  to  ascertain  the  error. 
At  the  landing  I  was  greeted  by  several  new  faces.  I  particu- 
larly observed  a  Frenchman  whom  I  had  not  noticed  before.  He 
addressed  me  with  a  courteous  offer  of  refreshijicnts.     His  man- 


TWENTY    YEARS  OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  27 

ners  and  language  were  evidently  those  of  an  educated  person, 
while  his  figure  and  physiognomy  indicated  aristocratic  habits  or 
birth,  yet  his  features  and  complexion  bore  the  strong  imprint 
of  that  premature  old  age  which  always  marks  a  dissipated  ca- 
reer. 

After  a  delightful  chat  in  my  mother-tongue  with  the  pleasant 
stranger,  he  invited  me  to  spend  the  night  on  shore,  I  declined 
politely,  and,  having  rectified  the  cargo's  error,  was  preparing  to 
re-embark,  when  the  Frenchman  once  more  approached  and  insist- 
ed on  my  remaining.  I  again  declined,  asserting  that  duty  for- 
bade my  absence.  He  then  remarked  that  orders  had  been  left 
by  my  countryman  the  patron  to  detain  me  ;  but  if  I  was  so  ob- 
stinate as  to  go,  I  migJit  jjTobably  regret  it. 

With  a  laugh,  I  stepped  into  my  boat,  and  on  reaching  the 
galliot,  learned  that  our  skipper  had  imprudently  avowed  the  rich 
nature  of  our  cargo. 

Before  leaving  the  vessel  that  night,  the  patron  took  me 
aside,  and  inquired  whether  I  received  the  invitation  to  pass  the 
night  on  the  key,  and  why  I  had  not  accepted  it  ?  To  my  great 
astonishment,  he  addressed  me  in  pure  Italian  ;  and  when  I  ex- 
pressed gratitude  for  his  ofi"er,  he  beset  me  with  questions  about 
my  country,  my  parents,  my  age,  my  objects  in  life,  and  my 
prospects.  Once  or  twice  he  threw  in  the  ejaculation  of,  "  poor 
boy  !  poor  boy  !  "  As  he  stepped  over  the  tafi"rail  to  enter  his 
boat,  I  offered  my  hand,  which  he  first  attempted  to  take, — then 
suddenly  stopping,  rejected  the  grasp,  and,  with  an  abrupt — 
"  No !  addio !  "  he  spun  away  in  his  boat  from  the  galliot's  side. 

I  could  not  help  putting  these  things  together  in  my  mind 
during  the  glowing  twilight.  I  felt  as  if  walking  in  a  cold 
shadow  ;  an  unconquerable  sense  of  impending  danger  oppressed 
me.  I  trie^  to  relieve  myself  by  discussing  the  signs  with  the 
captain,  but  the  phlegmatic  Hollander  only  scoffed  at  my  sus- 
picions, and  bade  me  sleep  off  my  nervousness. 

When  I  set  the  first  night  watch,  I  took  good  care  to  place 
every  case  containing  valuables  beloiv,  and  to  order  the  look-out 
to  call  all  hands  at  the  first  appearance  or  sound  of  a  boat.  Had 
we  been  provided  with  arms,  I  would  have  equipped  the  crew 


28 

with  weapons  of  defence,  but,  unluckily,  there  was  not  on  board 
even  a  rusty  firelock  or  sabre. 

How  wondrously  calm  was  all  nature  that  night !  Not  a 
breath  of  air,  or  a  ripple  on  the  water  !  The  sky  was  brilliant 
with  stars,  as  if  the  firmament  were  strewn  with  silver  dust. 
The  full  moon,  with  its  glowing  disc,  hung  some  fifteen  or  twenty 
dep;rees  above  the  horizon.  The  intense  stillness  weighed  upon 
my  tired  limbs  and  eyes,  while  I  leaned  with  my  elbows  on  the 
tafi'rail,  watching  the  roll  of  the  vessel  as  she  swung  lazily  from 
side  to  side  on  the  long  and  weary  swell.  Every  body  but  the 
watch  had  retired,  and  I,  too,  went  to  my  state-room  in  hope  of 
burying  my  sorrows  in  sleep.  But  the  calm  night  near  the  land 
had  so  completely  filled  my  berth  with  annoying  insects,  that  I  was 
obliged  to  decamp  and  take  refuge  in  the  stay-sail  netting,  where, 
wrapped  in  the  cool  canvas,  I  was  at  rest  in  quicker  time  than  I 
have  taken  to  tell  it. 

Notwithstanding  my  nervous  apprehension,  a  sleep  more  like 
the  torpor  of  lethargy  than  natural  slumber,  fell  on  me  at  once. 
I  neither  stirred  nor  heard  any  thing  till  near  two  o'clock,  when 
a  piercing  shriek  from  the  deck  aroused  me.  The  moon  had  set, 
but  there  was  light  enough  to  show  the  decks  abaft  filled  with 
men,  though  I  could  distinguish  neither  their  persons  nor  move- 
ments. Cries  of  appeal,  and  moans  as  of  wounded  or  dying, 
constantly  reached  me.  I  roused  myself  as  well  and  quickly  as 
I  could  from  the  oppression  of  my  deathlike  sleep,  and  tried  to 
shake  off  the  nightmare.  The  effort  assured  me  that  it  was 
reality  and  not  a  dream  !  In  an  instant,  that  presence  of  mind 
which  has  seldom  deserted  me,  suggested  escape.  I  seized  the 
gasket,  and  dropping  by  aid  of  it  as  softly  as  I  could  in  the 
water,  struck  out  for  shore.  It  was  time.  My  plunge  into  the 
sea,  notwithstanding  its  caution,  had  made  some  noise,  and  a 
rough  voice  called  in  Spanish  to  return  or  I  would  be  shot. 

When  I  began  to  go  to  sea,  I  took  pains  to  become  a  good 
swimmer,  and  my  acquired  skill  served  well  on  this  occasion. 
As  soon  as  the  voice  ceased  from  the  deck,  I  lay  still  on  the 
water  until  I  saw  a  flash  from  the  bow  of  the  galliot^  to  which  I 


TWENTY    YEARS   OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  29 

immediately  made  a  complaisant  bow  by  diving  deeply.  This 
operation  I  repeated  several  times,  till  I  was  lost  in  the  distant 
darkness  ;  nor  can  I  pride  myself  much  on  my  address  in  escap- 
ing the  musket  balls,  as  I  have  since  had  my  own  aim  similarly 
eluded  by  many  a  harmless  duck. 

After  swimming  about  ten  minutes,  I  threw  myself  on  my 
back  to  rest  and  "  take  a  fresh  departure."  It  was  so  dark  that 
I  could  not  see  the  key,  yet,  as  I  still  discerned  the  galliot's 
masts  relieved  against  the  sky,  I  was  enabled  by  that  beacon  to 
steer  my  way  landward.  Naked,  with  the  exception  of  trowsers, 
I  had  but  little  difl&culty  in  swimming,  so  that  in  less  than  half 
an  hour,  I  touched  the  key,  and  immediately  sought  concealment 
in  a  thick  growth  of  mangroves. 

1  had  not  been  five  minutes  in  this  dismal  jungle,  when  such 
a  swarm  of  mosquitoes  beset  me,  that  I  was  forced  to  hurry  to  the 
beach  and  plunge  into  the  water.  In  this  way  was  I  tormented 
the  whole  night.  At  dawn,  I  retreated  once  more  to  the  bushes; 
and  climbing  the  highest  tree  I  found, — whose  altitude,  however, 
was  not  more  than  twelve  feet  above  the  sand, — I  beheld,  across 
the  calm  sea,  the  dismantled  hull  of  my  late  home,  surrounded 
by  a  crowd  of  boats,  which  were  rapidly  filling  with  plundered 
merchandise.  It  was  evident  that  we  had  fallen  a  prey  to 
pirates ;  yet  I  could  not  imagine  why  /  had  been  singled  from 
this  scene  of  butchery,  to  receive  the  marks  of  anxious  sympathy 
that  were  manifested  by  the  patron  and  his  French  companion  on 
the  key.  All  the  morning  I  continued  in  my  comfortless  position, 
watching  their  movements, — occasionally  refreshing  my  parched 
lips  by  chewing  the  bitter  berries  of  the  thicket.  Daylight,  with 
its  heat,  was  as  intolerable  as  night,  with  its  venom.  The  tropical 
sun  and  the  glaring  reflection  from  a  wavcless  sea,  poured  through 
the  calm  atmosphere  upon  my  naked  flesh,  like  boiling  oil.  My 
thirst  was  intense.  As  the  afternoon  wore  away,  I  observed  sev- 
eral boats  tow  the  lightened  hull  of  our  galliot  southeast  of  the 
key  till  it  disappeared  behind  a  point  of  the  island.  Up  to  that 
moment,  my  manhood  had  not  forsaken  me  ;  but,  as  the  last  tim- 
ber of  my  vessel  was  lost  to  sight,  nature  resumed  its  dominion. 
Every  hope  of  seeing  my  old  companions  was  gone  ;  I  was  utterly 


30  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

alone.  If  this  narrative  were  designed  to  be  a  sentimental  con- 
fession, the  reader  might  see  unveiled  the  ghastly  spectacle  of  a 
''  troubled  conscience,"  nor  am  I  ashamed  to  say  that  no  conso- 
lation cheered  my  desolate  heart,  till  I  prayed  to  my  Maker  that 
the  loss  of  so  many  lives  might  not  be  imputed  to  the  wilful 
malice  of  a  proud  and  stubborn  nature. 


TWENTY    YEARS   OF   AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  31 


CHAPTER    IV. 

So  passed  the  day.  As  the  sun  sank  in  the  west,  I  began  to  re- 
flect about  obtaining  the  rest  for  mind  and  body  I  so  much 
needed.  My  system  was  almost  exhausted  by  want  of  food  and 
water,  while  the  dreadful  tragedy  of  the  preceding  night  shat- 
tered my  nerves  far  more  than  they  ever  suffered  amid  the  try- 
ing scenes  I  have  passed  through  since.  It  was  my  Jirst  adven- 
ture of  peril  and  of  blood  ;  and  my  soul  shrank  with  the  natural 
recoil  tliat  virtue  experiences  in  its  earliest  encounter  with  fla- 
grant crime. 

In  order  to  escape  the  incessant  torment  of  insects,  I  had 
just  determined  to  bury  my  naked  body  in  the  sand,  and  to 
cover  my  head  with  the  only  garment  I  possessed,  when  I  heard 
a  noise  in  the  neighboring  bushes,  and  perceived  a  large  and  sav- 
age dog  rushing  rapidly  from  side  to  side,  with  his  nose  to  the 
ground,  evidently  in  search  of  game  or  prey.  I  could  not  mistake 
the  nature  of  his  hunt.  With  the  agility  of  a  harlequin,  I  sprang 
to  my  friendly  perch  just  in  time  to  save  myself  from  his  fangs. 
The  foiled  and  ferocious  beast,  yelling  with  rage,  gave  an  alarm 
which  was  quickly  responded  to  by  other  dogs,  three  of  which — 
followed  by  two  armed  men — promptly  made  their  appearance 
beneath  my  tree.  The  hunters  were  not  surprised  at  finding  me, 
as,  in  truth,  I  was  the  game  they  sought.  Ordering  me  down,  I 
was  commanded  to  march  slowly  before  them,  and  especially 
warned  to  make  no  attempt  at  flight,  as  the  bloodhounds  would 
tear  me  to  pieces  on  the  spot.  I  told  my  guard  that  I  should 
of  course  manifest  no  such  folly  as   to  attempt  an  escape  from 


32  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

caballeros  like  themselves, — upon  a  desolate  sand  key  half  a  mile 
wide, — especially  when  my  alternative  refuge  could  only  be  found 
among  the  fish  of  the  sea.  The  self-possession  and  good  humor 
with  which  I  replied,  seemed  somewhat  to  mollify  the  cross- 
grained  savages,  and  we  soon  approached  a  habitation,  where  I 
was  ordered  to  sit  down  until  the  whole  party  assembled.  After 
a  while,  I  was  invited  to  join  them  in  their  evening  meal. 

The  piquant  stew  upon  which  we  fed  effectually  loosened 
their  tongues,  so  that,  in  the  course  of  conversation,  I  discovered 
my  pursuers  had  been  in  quest  of  me  since  early  morning,  though 
it  was  hardly  believed  I  had  either  escaped  the  shot,  or  swam 
fully  a  mile  amid  sharks  during  the  darkness.  Upon  this,  I  ven- 
tured to  put  some  ordinary  questions,  but  was  quickly  informed 
that  inquisitiveness  was  considered  very  unwholesome  on  the 
sand  keys  about  Cuba  ! 

At  sunset,  the  whole  piratical  community  of  the  little  isle  was 
assembled.  It  consisted  of  two  parties,  each  headed  by  its  respec- 
tive chief  Both  gangs  were  apparently  subject  to  the  leadership 
of  the  rancho's  proprietor  ;  and  in  this  man  I  recognized  the  jf?a- 
tron  who  inquired  so  minutely  about  my  biography  and  prospects. 
His  companions  addressed  him  either  as  "  El  senor  patron  "  or 
"  Don  Rafael."  I  was  surveyed  very  closely  by  the  picturesque 
group  of  bandits,  who  retired  into  the  interior  of  the  rancho^ — 
a  hut  made  of  planks  and  sails  rescued  from  wrecks.  My 
guard  or  sentinel  consisted  of  but  a  single  vagabond,  who  amused 
himself  by  whetting  a  long  knife  on  a  hone,  and  then  trying  its 
sharpness  on  a  single  hair  and  then  on  his  finger.  Sometimes 
the  scoundrel  made  a  face  at  me,  and  drew  the  back  of  his  wea- 
pon across  his  throat. 

The  conversation  within,  which  I  felt  satisfied  involved  my 
fate,  was  a  long  one.  I  could  distinctly  overhear  the  murmuring 
roar  of  talk,  although  I  could  not  distinguish  words.  One  sen- 
tence, however,  did  not  escape  me,  and  its  signification  proved 
particularly  interesting  : — ''  Los  muertos^''  said  the  French  dandy, 
— "  no  hablan^^'' — Dead  men  tell  no  tales  ! 

It  is  hard  to  imagine  a  situation  more  trying  for  a  young, 
hearty,  and  hopeful  man.     I  was  half  naked ;  my  skin  was  ex- 


TWExNTY    YEARS   OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  33 

coriated  by  the  sun,  sand,  and  salt  water;  four  bloodhounds  were 
at  my  feet  ready  to  fasten  on  my  throat  at  the  bidding  of  a 
desperado  ;  a  piratical  sentry,  knife  in  hand,  kept  watch  over  me, 
while  a  jury  of  buccaneers  discussed  my  fate  within  earshot. 
Dante's  Inferno  had  hardly  more  torments. 

The  Jilidiistero  conclave  lasted  quite  an  hour  without  reaching 
a  conclusion.  At  length,  after  an  unusual  clamor,  the  patron 
Rafael  rushed  from  the  rancho  with  a  horseman's  pistol,  and, 
calling  my  name,  whirled  me  behind  him  in  his  strong  and  irre- 
sistible grasp.  Then  facing  both  bands,  with  a  terrible  impreca- 
tion, he  swore  vengeance  if  they  persisted  in  requiring  the   death 

of  IIIS  NEPHEW  ! 

At  the  mention  of  the  word  "  nephew^''^  every  one  paused 
with  a  look  of  surprise,  and  drawing  near  the  excited  man  with 
expressions  of  interest,  agreed  to  respect  his  new-found  relative, 
though  they  insisted  I  should  swear  never  to  disclose  the  occur- 
rence of  which  I  had  been  an  unwilling  witness.  I  complied 
with  the  condition  unhesitatingly,  and  shook  hands  with  every 
one  present  except  the  sentry,  of  whom  I  shall  have  occasion  to 
speak  hereafter. 

It  is  astonishing  what  revulsions  of  manner,  if  not  of  feeling, 
take  place  suddenly  among  the  class  of  men  with  whom  my  lot 
had  now  been  cast.  Ten  minutes  before,  they  were  greedy  for 
my  blood,  not  on  account  of  personal  malice,  but  from  utter 
recklessness  of  life  whenever  an  individual  interfered  with  their 
personal  hopes  or  tenure  of  existence.  Each  one  of  these  out- 
laws now  vied  with  his  companions  in  finding  articles  to  cover  my 
nakedness  and  make  me  comfortable.  As  soon  as  I  was  clothed, 
supper  was  announced  and  I  was  given  almost  a  seat  of  honor  at 
a  table  plentifully  spread  with  fresh  fish,  sardines,  olives,  ham, 
cheese,  and  an  abundance  of  capital  claret. 

The  chat  naturally  turned  upon  me,  and  some  sly  jokes  were 
uttered  at  the  expense  of  Rafael,  concerning  the  kinsman  who 
had  suddenly  sprung  up  like  a  mushroom  out  of  this  pool  of 
blood. 

"  Caballeros !  "  interposed  Rafael,  passionately,  "  you  seem 
inclined  to  doubt  my  word.  Perhaps  you  are  no  longer  disposed 
2* 


34  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

to  regard  me  as  your  chief  ?  We  have  broken  bread  together 
during  four  months ;  we  have  shared  the  same  dangers  and 
divided  our  spoils  fairly  :  am  I  now  to  be  charged  to  my  face 
with  a  lie  ?  "  "  Ha  !  "  said  he,  rising  from  the  table  and  striding 
through  the  apartment  with  violent  gestures,  "  who  dares  doubt 
my  word,  and  impute  to  me  the  meanness  of  a  lie  ?  Are  ye 
drunk?  Can  this  wine  have  made  you  mad?"  and  seizing  a 
bottle,  he  dashed  it  to  the  ground,  stamping  with  rage.  Has  the 
blood  of  last  night  unsettled  your  nerves  and  made  you  deli- 
rious ?  Basta  !  basta !  Let  me  not  hear  another  word  of  doubt 
as  to  this  youth.  The  first  who  utters  a  syllable  of  incredulity 
shall  kill  me  on  the  spot  or  fall  by  my  hand  !  " 

This  sounds,  I  confess,  very  melo-dramatically,  yet,  my 
experience  has  taught  me  that  it  is  precisely  a  bold  and  dash- 
ing tone  of  bravado,  adopted  at  the  right  moment,  which  is 
always  most  successful  among  suck  ruffians  as  surrounded  my 
preserver.  The  speech  was  delivered  with  such  genuine  vehe- 
mence and  resolution  that  no  one  could  cxuestion  his  sincerity  or 
suppose  him  acting.  But,  as  soon  as  he  was  done,  the  leader  of 
the  other  gang,  who  had  been  very  unconcernedly  smoking  his 
cigar,  and  apparently  punctuating  Don  Rafael's  oration  with  his 
little  puffs,  advanced  to  my  new  uncle,  and  laying  his  hand  on 
his  arm,  said  : — 

"  Amigo,  you  take  a  joke  too  seriously.  No  one  here  certainly 
desires  to  harm  the  boy  or  disbelieve  you.  Take  my  advice, — 
calm  yourself,  light  a  cigarillo,  drink  a  tumbler  of  claret,  and 
drop  the  subject." 

But  this  process  of  pacification  was  too  rapid  for  my  excited 
uncle.  Men  of  his  quality  require  to  be  let  down  gradually  from 
their  wrath,  for  I  have  frequently  noticed  that  when  their  object 
is  too  easily  gained,  they  interpose  obstacles  and  start  new  sub- 
jects of  controversy,  so  that  the  most  amiable  and  yielding  tem- 
per may  at  last  become  inflamed  to  passionate  resistance. 

"  No,  caballeros  !  "  exclaimed  Don  Kafael,  "  I  will  neither 
light  a  cigarillo,  drink  claret,  calm  myself,  nor  accept  satisfaction 
for  this  insult,  short  of  the  self-condemnation  you  will  all  expe- 
rience for  a  mean  suspicion,  when  I  prove  the  truth  of  my  asser- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  35 

tions  about  tbis  boy.  A  doubted  man  has  no  business  at  tho 
head  of  such  fellows  as  you  are.  Begone  out  of  my  hearing, 
Theodore,"  continued  he,  pointing  to  the  canvas  door,  "begone 
till  I  convince  these  people  that  I  am  your  uncle  !  " 

As  soon  as  I  was  out  of  the  chamber,  I  afterwards  learned, 
that  Rafael  announced  my  name,  place  of  birth,  and  parentage  to 
the  wreckers,  and  desired  the  other  patron^  Mesclet,  who  spoke 
Italian,  lo  follow  and  interrogate  me  as  to  his  accuracy. 

Mesclet  performed  the  service  in  a  kind  manner,  opening  the 
interview  by  asking  the  names  of  my  father  and  mother,  and 
then  demanding  how  many  uncles  I  had  on  my  mother's  side  ? 
My  replies  appeared  satisfactory. 

"  Was  one  of  vour  uncles  a  navy  officer  ?  "  inquired  Mesclet. 
"  and  where  is  he  at  present  ?  "  The  only  uncle  I  had  in  the 
navy,  I  declared,  had  long  been  absent  from  his  family.  But 
once  in  my  life  had  I  seen  him,  and  that  was  while  on  his  way 
to  Marseilles,  in  1815,  to  embark  for  the  Spanish  main;  since 
then  no  intelligence  of  the  wanderer  had  reached  my  ears.  Had 
I  been  a  French  scholar  at  that  time,  my  adventures  of  consan- 
guinity at  Ferrol  and  on  this  key  might  well  have  brought  Mo- 
liere's  satire  to  my  mind  : 

"De  moi  je  commence  a  douter  tout  de  bon ; 
Pourtant,  quand  je  me  tcite  et  que  je  me  rapelle, 
n  me  setnhle  que  je  suis  moi!" 

Mesclet's  report  gave  perfect  satisfaction  to  the  scoffers,  and 
the  mysterious  drama  at  once  established  me  in  a  position  I 
could  not  have  attained  even  by  desperate  services  to  the  jUibus- 
teros.  A  bumper,  all  round,  closed  the  night ;  and  each  slunk 
off  to  his  cot  or  blanket  beneath  a  mosquito  bar,  while  the  blood- 
hounds were  chained  at  the  door  to  do  double  duty  as  sentinels 
and  body  guard. 

I  hope  there  are  few  who  will  deny  me  the  justice  to  believe 
that  when  I  stretched  my  limbs  on  the  hard  couch  assigned  me 
that  night,  I  remembered  my  God  in  heaven,  and  my  home  in 
Tuscany.  It  was  the  first  night  that  an  ingenuous  youth  had 
spent  among  outcasts,  whose  hands  were  still  reeking  with  the 


36 


CAPTAIN    CANOT;    OR, 


blood  of  his  companions.  At  that  period  of  manhood  we  are 
grateful  for  the  mere  boon  of  life.  It  is  pleasant  to  live,  to 
breathe,  to  have  one's  being,  on  this  glorious  earth,  even  though 
that  life  maybe  cast  among  felons.  There  is  still  ii future  before 
us ;  and  Hope,  the  bright  goddess  of  health  and  enthusiasm,  in- 
spires our  nerves  with  energy  to  conquer  our  present  ills. 

I  threw  myself  down  thankfully,  but  I  could  not  rest.  Sore 
and  tired  as  I  was,  I  could  not  compose  my  mind  to  sleep.  The 
conduct  of  Rafael  surprised  me.  I  could  not  imagine  how  he 
became  familiar  with  my  biography,  nor  could  I  identify  his  per- 
sonal appearance  with  my  uncle  who  went  so  long  before  to  South 
America.  A  thousand  fancies  jumbled  themselves  in  my  brain  , 
and,  in  their  midst,  I  fell  into  slumber.  Yet  my  self-oblivion 
was  broken  and  short.  My  pulse  beat  wildly,  but  my  skin  did 
not  indicate  the  heat  of  fever.  The  tragedy  of  the  galliot  was 
reacted  before  me.  Phantoms  of  the  butchered  wife  and  men, 
streaming  with  blood,  stood  beside  my  bed,  while  a  chorus  of 
devils,  in  the  garb  of  sailors,  shouted  that  /  was  the  cause  of 
the  galliot's  loss,  and  of  their  murder.  Then  the  wretched 
woman  would  hang  round  my  neck,  and  crawl  on  my  breast,  be- 
sprinkling me  with  gore  that  spouted  from  her  eyeless  sockets, 
imploring  me  to  save  her ; — till,  shrieking  and  panting,  I  awoke 
from  the  horrible  nightmare.  Such  were  the  dreams  that 
haunted  my  pillow  nearly  all  the  time  I  was  forced  to  remain 
with  these  desperadoes. 

I  thanked  God  that  the  night  of  the  tropics  was  so  brief. 
The  first  glimmer  of  light  found  me  up,  and  as  soon  as  I  could 
find  a  companion  to  control  the  hounds,  I  ran  to  the  sea  for  re- 
freshment by  a  glorious  surf-bath.  I  was  on  a  miserable  sand- 
bar, whose  surface  was  hardly  covered  with  soil ;  yet,  in  that 
prolific  land  of  rain  and  sunshine,  nature  seems  only  to  require 
the  slightest  footing  to  assert  her  magnificent  power  of  vegeta- 
tion. In  spots,  along  the  arid  island,  were  the  most  beautiful 
groves  of  abundant  undergrowth,  matted  with  broad-leaved  vines, 
while,  within  their  shadow,  the  fresh  herbage  sprang  up,  sparkling 
with  morning  dew.     In  those  climates,  the  blaze  of  noon  is  a 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  37 

season  of  oppr^sive  languor,  but  morning  and  evening,  with  their 
dawn  and  twilight, — their  lengthened  shadows  and  declining  sun, 
are  draughts  of  beauty  that  have  often  intoxicated  less  enthusias- 
tic tempers  than  mine.  The  bath,  the  breeze,  the  renewed  nature, 
aroused  and  restored  a  degree  of  tone  to  my  shattered  nerves, 
so  that  when  I  reached  the  rancho^  I  was  ready  for  any  duty  that 
might  be  imposed.  The  twin  gangs  had  gone  off  in  their  boats 
soon  after  daylight,  with  saws  and  axes  ;  but  Rafael  left  orders 
with  my  brutal  sentry  that  I  should  assist  him  in  preparing 
breakfast,  which  was  to  be  ready  by  eleven  o'clock. 

I  never  knew  the  real  patronymic  of  this  fellow,  who  was  a 
Spaniard,  and  passed  among  us  by  the  nickname  of  Gallego. 
Gallego  possessed  a  good  figure, — symmetrical  and  strong,  while 
it  was  lithe  and  active.  But  his  head  and  face  were  the  most 
repulsive  I  ever  encountered.  The  fellow  was  not  absolutely 
ugly,  so  far  as  mere  contour  of  features  was  concerned  ;  but 
there  was  so  dropsical  a  bloat  in  his  cheeks,  such  a  stagnant 
sallowness  in  his  complexion,  such  a  watching  scowl  in  his  eyes, 
such  a  drawling  suUenness  of  speech,  such  sensuality  in  the  turn 
of  his  resolute  lips,  that  I  trembled  to  know  he  was  to  be  my 
daily  companion.  His  dress  and  skin  denoted  slovenly  habits, 
while  a  rude  and  growling  voice  gave  token  of  the  bitter  heart 
that  kept  the  enginery  of  the  brute  in  motion. 

With  this  wretch  for  chef  de  cuisine^  I  was  exalted  to  the 
post  of  "  cook's  mate." 

I  found  that  a  fire  had  been  already  kindled  beneath  some 
dwarf  trees,  and  that  a  kettle  was  set  over  it  to  boil.  Gallego 
beckoned  me  to  follow  him  into  a  thicket  some  distance  from  the 
rancho^  where,  beneath  the  protection  of  a  large  tarpaulin,  we 
found  the  fi/ibustero^s  pantry  amply  provided  with  butter,  onions, 
spices,  salt-fish,  bacon,  lard,  rice,  coffee,  wines,  and  all  the  requi- 
sites of  comfortable  living.  In  the  corners,  strewn  at  random  on 
the  ground,  I  observed  spy-glasses,  compasses,  sea-charts,  books, 
and  a  quantity  of  choice  cabin-furniture.  We  obtained  a  suffi- 
ciency of  water  for  cookery  and  drinking  from  holes  dug  in  the 
sand,  and  we  managed  to  cool  the  beverage  by  suspending  it  in 


38  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

a  draft  of  air  in  porous  vessels,  which  are  known  throughout  the 
West  Indies  by  the  mischievous  name  of  "  monkeys.''  Our 
copious  thickets  supplied  us  with  fuel,  nor  were  we  without  a 
small,  rough  garden,  in  which  the  gang  cultivated  peppers,  toma- 
toes and  mint.  The  premises  being  reviewed,  I  retarned  with 
my  ill-favored  guard  to  take  a  lesson  in  piratical  cookery. 

It  is  astonishing  how  well  these  wandering  vagabonds  know 
how  to  toss  up  a  savory  mess,  and  how  admirably  they  under- 
stand its  enjoyment.  A  tickled  palate  is  one  of  the  great  objects 
of  their  mere  animal  existence,  and  they  are  generally  prepared 
with  a  mate  who  might  pass  muster  in  a  second-rate  restaurant. 
The  d(jeuner  we  served  of  codfish  stewed  in  claret,  snowy  and 
granulated  rice,  delicious  tomatoes  and  fried  ham,  was  irreproach- 
able. Coffee  had  been  drunk  at  day  dawn  ;  so  that  my  comrades 
contented  themselves  during  the  meal  with  liberal  potations  of 
claret,  while  they  finished  the  morning  with  brandy  and  cigars. 

By  two  o'clock  the  breakfast  was  over,  and  most  of  the  gorged 
scamps  had  retired  for  a  siesta  during  the  sweltering  heat.  A 
few  of  the  toughest  took  muskets  and  went  to  the  beach  to  shoot 
gulls  or  sharks.  Gallego  and  myself  were  dispatched  to  our 
grove-kitchen  to  scullionize  our  utensils  ;  and,  finally,  being  the 
youngest,  I  was  intrusted  with  the  honorable  duty  of  feeding  the 
blood-hounds. 

As  soon  as  my  duties  were  over,  I  was  preparing  to  follow 
the  siesta-example  of  my  betters,  when  I  met  Don  Rafael  coming 
out  of  the  door,  and,  without  a  word,  was  beckoned  to  follow  to- 
wards the  interior  of  the  island.  When  we  reached  a  solitary 
spot,  two  or  three  hundred  yards  from  the  ranclio^  Rafael  drew 
me  down  beside  him  in  the  shade  of  a  tree,  and  said  gently  with 
a  smile,  that  he  supposed  I  was  at  least  surprised  by  the  events 
of  the  last  four  days.  I  must  confess  that  I  saw  little  for  any 
thing  else  but  astonishment  in  them,  and  I  took  the  liberty  to 
concede  that  fact  to  the  Don. 

''  Well,"  continued  he,  "  I  have  brought  you  here  to  explain 
a  part  of  the  mystery,  and  especially  to  let  you  understand  why 
it  was  that  I  passed  myself  off  last  night  as  your  uncle,  in  order 
to  save  your  life.     I  was  obliged  to  do  it,  boy;  and,  voto  a  £Hos! 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  39 

I  would  have  fought  the  junta^ — bloodhounds  and  all, — before 
they  should  have  harmed  a  limb  of  your  body  !  " 

Don  Rafael  explained  that  as  soon  as  he  caught  a  glimpse  of 
my  face  when  he  boarded  the  galliot  on  the  morning  of  our  dis- 
aster, he  recognized  the  lineaments  of  an  old  companion  in 
arms.  The  resemblance  caused  him  to  address  me  as  partic- 
ularly as  he  had  done  on  the  night  of  the  piracy,  the  conse- 
quence of  which  was  that  his  suspicions  ripened  into  certainty. 

If  I  were  writing  the  story  of  Don  Rafael's  life,  instead  of 
my  own,  I  might  give  an  interesting  and  instructive  narrative, 
which  showed, — as  he  alleged, — how  those  potent  controllers  of 
outlaws, — "  circumstances," — had  changed  him  from  a  very  re- 
spectable soldier  of  fortune  into  a  genuine  buccaneer.  He  as- 
serted that  my  uncle  had  been  his  schoolmate  and  professional 
companion  in  the  old  world.  When  the  war  of  South  American 
independence  demanded  the  aid  of  certain  Dugald  Dalgettys  to 
help  its  fortune,  Don  Rafael  and  ra}'^  uncle  had  lent  the  revolu- 
tionists of  Mexico  their  swords,  for  which  they  were  repaid  in 
the  coin  that  "  patriots  "  commonly  receive  for  such  amiable 
self-sacrifice.  Rejniblics  are  proverbially  ungrateful,  and  Mex- 
ico, alas  !  was  a  republic. 

After  many  a  buffet  of  fortune,  my  poor  uncle,  it  seems,  per- 
ished in  a  duel  at  which  Don  Rafael  performed  the  professional 
part  of  "  his  friend."  My  relation  died,  of  course,  like  a  "man 
of  honor,"  and  soon  after,  Don  Rafael,  himself,  fell  a  victim  to 
the  "  circumstances  "  which,  in  the  end,  enabled  him  to  slaugh- 
ter my  shipmates  and  save  my  life. 

I  must  admit  that  I  use  this  flippant  tone  with  a  twinge  of 
sorrow,  for  I  think  I  perceived  certain  spasms  of  conscience  dur- 
ing our  interview,  which  proved  that,  among  the  lees  of  that 
withered  heart,  there  were  some  rich  drops  of  manhood  ready  to 
mantle  his  cheek  with  shame  at  our  surroundings.  Indeed,  as 
he  disclosed  his  story,  he  exhibited  several  outbursts  of  passion- 
ate agony  which  satisfied  me  that  if  Don  Rafael  were  in  Paris^ 
Don  Rafael  would  have  been  a  most  respectable  bourgeois ; 
while,  doubtless,  there  were  many  estimable  citizens  at  that  mo- 
ment in  Paris,  who  would  have  given  up  their  shops  in  order  to 


40  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

become  Don  Rafaels  in  Cuba !  Such  is  life — and  "  circum- 
stances !  " 

Our  chat  wasted  a  large  portion  of  the  afternoon.  It  was 
terminated  by  a  counsel  from  my  friend  to  be  wary  in  my  deport- 
ment, and  a  direction  to  console  myself  with  the  idea  that  he  did 
not  mean  I  should  tarry  long  upon  the  island. 

"  You  see,"  said  he,  "  that  I  do  not  lack  force  of  eye,  voice, 
and  personal  influence  over  these  ruffians  ;  yet  I  do  not  know 
that  I  can  always  serve  or  save  a  friend,  so  your  fate  hangs  very 
much  on  your  circumspection.  Men  in  our  situation  are  Ishmael- 
ites.  Our  hands  are  not  only  against  all,  and  all  against  us,  but 
we  do  not  know  the  minute  when  we  may  be  all  against  each 
other.  The  power  of  habitual  control  may  do  much  for  a 
leader  among  such  men ;  but  such  an  one  must  neither  quail 
nor  deceive.  Therefore,  beware  \  Let  none  of  your  actions 
mar  my  projects.  Let  them  never  suspect  the  truth  of  our 
consanguinity.  Call  me  "  uncle ;  "  and  in  my  mouth  you  shall 
always  be  "  Theodore."  Ask  no  questions  ;  be  civil,  cheerful, 
and  serviceable  about  the  rancho  ;  never  establish  an  intimacy, 
confidence,  or  friendship  with  any  one  of  the  band  ;  stifle  your 
feelings  and  your  tears  if  you  ever  find  them  rising  to  your  lips 
or  eyes  ;  talk  as  little  as  you  possibly  can  ;  avoid  that  smooth- 
tongued Frenchman ;  keep  away  from  our  revels,  and  refrain 
entirely  from  wine. 

"  I  charge  you  to  be  specially  watchful  of  Gallego,  the  cook. 
He  is  our  man  of  dirty  work, — a  shameless  coward,  though  re- 
vengeful as  a  cat.  If  it  shall  ever  happen  that  you  come  in  col- 
lision with  him,  strike  first  and  well :  no  one  cares  for  him ; 
even  his  death  will  make  no  stir.  Take  this  cuchillo^ — it  is 
sharp  and  reliable  ;  keep  it  near  you  day  and  night ;  and,  in 
self-defence^  do  not  hesitate  to  make  good  use  of  it.  In  a  few 
days,  I  may  say  more  to  you  ;  until  then, — corragio  figlio,  i 
addio .'  " 

We  returned  to  the  rancho  by  different  paths. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  41 


CHAPTER    V. 

The  life  of  men  under  the  ban  of  society,  on  a  desolate 
sand  key,  whose  only  visitors  are  land-crabs  and  sea-gulls,  is 
a  dull  and  dreary  affair.  The  genuine  pirate,  properly  equipped 
for  a  desperate  lot,  who  has  his  swift  keel  beneath  him  and  is 
wafted  wheresoever  he  lists  on  canvas  wings,  encounters,  it  is 
true,  an  existence  of  peril ;  yet  there  is  something  exhilarating 
and  romantic  in  his-  dashing  career  of  incessant  peril :  he  is  ever 
on  the  wing,  and  ever  amid  novelty  ;  there  is  something  about 
his  life  that  smacks  of  genuine  warfare,  and  his  existence  becomes 
as  much  more  respectable  as  the  old-fashioned  highwayman  on 
his  mettlesome  steed  was  superior  to  the  sneaking  footpad,  who 
leaped  from  behind  a  thicket  and  bade  the  unarmed  pedestrian 
stand  and  deliver.  But  the  wrecker-pirate  takes  his  victim  at  a 
disadvantage,  for  he  is  not  a  genuine  freebooter  of  the  sea.  He 
shuns  an  able  foe  and  strikes  the  crippled.  Like  the  shark  and 
the  eagle,  he  delights  to  prey  on  the  carcass,  rather  than  to  strike 
the  living  quarry. 

TJ]e  companionship  into  which  misfortune  had  thrown  me  was 
precisely  of  this  character,  and  I  gladly  confess  that  I  was  never 
tempted  for  a  moment  to  bind  up  my  fate  with  the  sorry  gang. 
I  confided,  it  is  true,  in  Rafael's  promise  to  liberate  me  ;  yet  I 
never  abandoned  the  hope  of  escape  by  my  own  tact  and  energy. 

Meanwhile,  I  became  heartily  tired  of  my  scullion  duties  as 
the  subordinate  of  Gallego.     Finding  one  day  a  chest  of  carpen- 


42 

ters'  tools  among  the  rubbish,  I  busied  myself  in  making  a  rud- 
der for  one  of  the  boats,  and  so  ^vell  did  I  succeed,  that  when 
mj  companions  returned  to  breakfast  from  their  daily  "  fishing," 
my  mechanical  skill  was  lauded  to  such  a  degree  that  Rafael 
converted  the  general  enthusiasm  to  my  advantage  by  separating 
me  from  the  cook.  I  was  raised  to  the  head  of  our  "  naval 
bureau  "  as  boatbuilder  in  chief.  Indeed,  it  was  admitted  on 
all  hands  that  I  was  abler  with  the  adze  than  the  ladle  and 
spoiled  fewer  boards  than  broths. 

A  few  days  passed,  during  which  I  learned  that  our  unfor- 
tunate galliot  was  gradually  emptied  and  destroyed.  This 
was  the  usual  morning  occupation  of  the  whole  gang  until 
the  enterprise  ended.  When  the  job  was  over  Don  Rafael  told 
me  that  he  was  about  to  depart  hurriedly  on  business  with  the 
whole  company,  to  the  mainland  of  Cuba,  so  that,  during  his 
absence,  the  island  and  its  property  would  be  left  in  custody  of 
Gallego,  myself,  and  the  bloodhounds.  He  specially  charged  the 
cook  to  keep  sober,  and  to  give  a  good  account  of  himself  at  the 
end  o^Jive  days^  which  would  terminate  his  absence. 

But  no  sooner  was  the  /j«^;ro?z  away,  than  the  lazy  scamp  neg- 
lected his  duties,  skulked  all  day  among  the  bushes,  and  refused 
even  to  furnish  my  food  or  supply  the  dogs.  Of  course,  I  speed- 
ily attended  to  the  welfare  of  myself  and  the  animals ;  but,  at 
night,  the  surly  Galician  came  home,  prepared  his  own  supper, 
drank  till  he  was  completely  drunk,  and  retired  without  uttering 
a  word. 

I  was  glad  that  he  yielded  to  the  temptation  of  liquor,  as  I 
hoped  he  would  thereby  become  incapable  of  harming  me  during 
the  watches  of  the  night,  if  weariness  compelled  me  to  sleep. 
He  was  a  malignant  wretch,  and  his  taciturnity  and  ill-will  ap- 
peared so  ominous  now  that  I  was  left  utterly  alone,  that  I 
resolved,  if  possible,  to  keep  awake,  and  not  to  trust  to  luck  or 
liquor.  The  galliot's  tragedy  and  anxiety  stood  me  in  stead,  so 
that  I  did  not  close  my  eyes  in  sleep  the  whole  of  that  dreary 
vigil.  About  midnight,  Gallego  stealthily  approached  ray  cot, 
and  pausing  a  moment  to  assure  himself  that  I  was  in  the  pro- 
found repose  which  I  admirable  feigned,  he  turned  on  tip-toe  to 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  43 

the  door  of  our  cabin,  and  disappeared  with  a  large  bundle  in  his 
hand.  He  did  not  return  until  near  day  dawn  :  and,  next  night, 
the  same  act  was  exactly  repeated. 

The  mysterious  sullenness  of  this  vagabond  not  only  alarmed, 
but  increased  m}'  nervousness,  for  I  can  assure  the  reader  that, 
on  a  desolate  island,  without  a  companion  but  a  single  outcast, 
one  would  rather  hear  the  sound  of  that  wretch's  voice  than  be 
doomed  to  the  silence  of  such  inhuman  solitude.  During  the 
day  he  kept  entirely  aloof, — generally  at  sea  fishing, — affording 
me  time  for  a  long  siesta  in  a  nook  near  the  shore,  penetrated 
by  a  thorny  path,  which  Gallego  could  not  have  traced  without 
hounds.  On  the  fourth  night,  when  the  pirate  left  our  hut  for 
his  accustomed  excursion,  I  resolved  to  follow ;  and  taking  a 
pistol  with  renewed  priming,  I  pursued  his  steps  at  a  safe  dis- 
tance, till  I  saw  him  enter  a  thick  shrubbery,  in  which  he  was 
lost.  I  marked  the  spot  and  returned  to  the  cabin.  Next 
morning,  after  coffee,  Gallego  departed  in  his  canoe  to  fish.  I 
watched  him  anxiously  from  the  beach  until  he  anchored  about 
two  miles  from  the  reef,  and  then  calling  the  dogs,  retraced  my 
way  to  the  thicket.  The  hounds  were  of  great  service,  for, 
having  placed  them  on  the  track,  they  instantly  traced  the  path 
of  the  surly  scoundrel. 

After  some  trouble  in  passing  the  dense  copse  of  underwood, 
I  entered  a  large  patch  of  naked  sand,  broken  by  heaps  of  stones, 
which  appeared  to  cover  graves.  One  heap  bore  the  form  of  a 
cross,  and  was  probably  the  sepulchre  of  a  wrecker.  I  stopped 
awhile  and  reflected  as  to  further  explorations.  On  entering  this 
arid  graveyard,  I  observed  a  number  of  land-crabs  scamper  away ; 
but,  after  awhile,  when  I  sat  down  in  a  corner  and  became  per- 
fectly quiet,  I  noticed  that  the  army  returned  to  the  field  and 
introduced  themselves  into  all  the  heaps  of  stones  or  graves  save 
one.  This  struck  me  as  singular ;  for,  when  people  are  so  hope- 
lessly alone  as  I  was,  they  become  minute  observers,  and  derive 
infinite  happiness  from  the  consideration  of  the  merest  trifles. 
Accordingly,  I  ventured  close  to  the  abandoned  heap,  and  found 
at  once  that  the  neighboring  sand  had  been  freshly  smoothed. 
I  was  on  Gallego's  track  !     In  dread  of  detection,  I  stealthily 


44  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

climbed  a  tree,  and,  screening  myself  behind  the  foliage,  peered 
out  towards  the  sea  till  I  beheld  the  cook  at  work  beyond  the 
reef.  My  musket  and  pistols  were  again  examined  and  found  in 
order.  With  these  precautions,  I  began  to  remove  the  stones, 
taking  care  to  mark  their  relative  positions  so  that  I  might  re- 
place them  exactly ;  and,  in  about  ten  minutes  work  at  excava- 
tion, I  came  upon  tw^o  barrels,  one  of  which  was  filled  with  bun- 
dles of  silk,  linens,  and  handkerchiefs,  while  the  other  contained 
a  chronometer,  several  pieces  of  valuable  lace,  and  a  beautifully 
bound,  gilt,  and  ornamented  Bible.  One  bundle,  tied  in  a  Madras 
handkerchief,  particularly  attracted  my  attention,  for  I  thought 
I  recognized  the  covering.  Within  it  I  found  a  number  of  trin- 
kets belonging  to  the  wife  of  my  Dutch  captain,  and  a  large  hair- 
pin, set  with  diamonds,  which  I  remember  she  wore  the  last  day 
of  her  life.  Had  this  wretch  torn  it  from  her  head,  as  he  im- 
brued his  hands  in  her  blood  on  that  terrible  night  ?  The  pain- 
ful revelation  brought  all  before  me  once  more  with  appalling 
force.  I  shuddered  and  became  sick.  Yet,  I  had  no  time  for 
maudlin  dalliance  with  my  feelings.  Replacing  every  thing  with 
precision,  and  smoothing  the  sand  once  more  M'ith  my  flannel 
shirt,  I  returned  to  the  rancho,  where  I  indulged  in  the  boyish 
but  honest  outburst  of  nature  which  I  could  no  longer  restrain. 
I  was  not  then — and,  thank  God,  I  am  not  now — a  stranger  to 
tears  !  To  the  world,  the  human  heart  and  the  human  eye,  like 
the  coral  isle  of  the  Atlantic,  may  be  parched  and  withered  ; 
yet,  beneath  the  seared  and  arid  surface,  the  living  water  still 
flows  and  gushes,  when  the  rock  and  the  heart  alike  are  stricken ! 

Just  before  sunset  of  this  day,  the  deep  baying  of  our  hounds 
gave  notice  of  approaching  strangers  ;  and,  soon  after,  four  boats 
appeared  in  the  cove.  The  two  foremost  belonged  to  Don  Rafael 
and  his  crew,  while  the  others  were  filled  with  strangers  whose 
appearance  was  that  of  landsmen  rather  than  mariners.  As 
Rafael  received  them  on  the  beach,  he  introduced  them  to  me  as 
his  especial  pets,  the   "  AMrniBious  jews." 

Our  delicious  supper  of  that  night  was  augmented  by  a  fine 
store  of  beef,  pork  and  fowls,  brought  from  shore.     I  lingered  at 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  45 

table  as  long  as  the  company  maintained  a  decent  sobriety,  and 
learned  that  these  saltwater  Hebrews  were,  in  truth,  speculators 
from  Cardenas,  who  accompanied  Rafael  in  the  guise  of  fisher- 
men, to  purchase  the  plundered  cargo  of  my  galliot. 

During  his  visit  to  Cuba,  Don  Rafael  was  apprised  that  the 
Cuban  authorities  were  about  sending  an  Inspector  among  the 
islands  oflF  the  coast,  and  accordingly  took  precaution  to  furnish 
himself  in  advance  with  a  regular  "  fishing  license."  All  hands 
were  forthwith  set  to  w^ork  to  make  our  key  and  rancho  conform 
to  this  calling,  and,  in  a  few  days,  the  canvas  roof  of  our  hut 
was  replaced  by  a  thatch  of  leaves,  while  every  dangerous  article 
or  implement  was  concealed  in  the  thicket  of  a  labyrinthine  creek. 
In  fact,  our  piscatory  character  could  not  be  doubted.  In  our 
persons  and  occupation,  we  looked  as  innocent  and  rustic  as  a 
pic-nic  party  on  a  summer  bivouac  for  fresh  air  and  salt  bathing. 
Nor  was  the  transformation  less  real  in  regard  to  our  daily  tasks. 
We  became,  in  reality,  most  industrious  fishermen  ;  so  that  we 
had  more  than  a  thousand  of  the  finny  tribe  piled  up  and  dried, 
when  the  hounds  signalled  the  arrival  of  the  expected  oflBcials. 

Breakfast  was  on  the  table  when  they  landed,  but  it  was  the 
banyan  meal  of  humble  men,  whose  nets  were  never  filled  with 
aught  but  the  scaly  products  of  the  sea.  Our  inspector  was 
regaled  with  a  scant  fish-feast,  and  allowed  to  digest  it  over  the 
genuine  license.  Rafael  complained  sadly  of  hard  times  and 
poverty; — in  fact,  the  drama  of  humility  was  played  to  perfec- 
tion, and,  finally,  the  functionary  signed  our  license,  with  a  cer- 
tificate of  our  loyalty,  and  pocketed  a  moderate  "  gratification  " 
oi  five  ounces ! 

Six  long,  hot,  and  wretched  weeks  passed  over  my  head  before 
any  striking  occurrence  relieved  the  monotony  of  my  life. 
During  the  whole  of  this  period,  our  fishing  adventure  was 
steadily  pursued,  when  information  was  mysteriously  brought  to 
the  key  that  a  richly-laden  French  vessel  had  run  ashore  on 
the  Cayo  Verde,  an  islet  some  forty  miles  east  of  the  Cruz  del 
Padre.  That  afternoon,  both  of  our  large  boats  were  filled 
with    armed    men,  and,  as    they   departed    with    every  wrecker 


46  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

aboard,  I  alone  was  left  on  the  islet  to  guard  our  property  with 
the  dogs. 

The  thought  and  hope  of  escape  both  swelled  in  my  breast 
as  I  saw  the  hulls  dwindle  to  a  dot  and  disappear  behind  the 
horizon.  In  a  moment,  my  plan  was  conceived  and  perfected. 
The  sea  was  perfectly  smooth,  and  I  was  expert  in  the  use  of  oars. 
That  very  night  I  launched  our  canoe, — the  only  vessel  left  in 
the  cove, — and  placing  the  sail,  scullers,  and  grappling-hook 
within  it,  returned  to  the  rancho  for  clothing.  As  it  was  dark, 
I  lighted  a  candle,  when,  on  looking  into  the  clothes-chest 
beneath  my  bed,  I  found  inscribed  on  the  lid,  in  fresh  chalk- 
marks,  the  words  "  Patience  !  wait  !  " 

This  discovery  made  me  pause  in  my  preparations.  Was  it 
the  warning — as  it  was  certainly  the  handwriting — of  Rafael  ? 
Had  he  purposely  and  honorably  left  me  alone,  in  order  to  escape 
this  scene  of  blood  ?  Did  he  anticipate  my  effort  to  fly,  and  en- 
deavor to  save  me  from  the  double  risk  of  crossing  to  the  main- 
land, and  of  future  provision  for  my  comfort  ?  I  could  not  doubt 
its  being  the  work  of  my  friend  ;  and,  whether  it  was  superstition 
or  prudence,  I  cannot  say,  but  I  resolved,  unhesitatingly,  to 
abandon  a  scheme  in  regard  to  which  I  hesitated.  Instead, 
therefore,  of  attempting  to  pass  the  strait  between  the  key  and 
Cuba,  I  went  to  bed,  and  slept  more  comfortably  in  my  utter 
abandonment  than  I  had  done  since  I  was  on  the  island. 

Next  day,  at  noon,  I  descried  a  small  pilot-boat  sailing  inside 
the  reef,  with  all  the  confidence  of  a  perfect  master  of  the  chan- 
nel. Two  persons  speedily  landed,  with  provisions  from  the 
mainland,  and  stated  that,  on  his  last  visit  to  Cuba,  Don  Rafael 
engaged  them  to  take  me  to  Havana.  This,  however,  was  to  bo 
done  with  much  caution,  inasmuch  as  his  men  would  not  assent 
to  my  departure  until  they  had  compromised  my  life  with  theirs 
by  some  act  of  desperate  guilt.  The  pilots  declined  taking  me 
then  without  my  guardian's  assent; — and,  in  truth,  so  fully  was 
I  convinced  of  his  intention  to  liberate  me  in  the  best  and  speed- 
iest way,  that  I  made  up  my  mind  to  abide  where  I  was  till  he 
returned. 

For  three  days  more  I  was  doomed   to  solitude.     On  the 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  47 

fourth,  the  boats  came  back,  with  the  pilot's  cutter,  and  I  quickly 
saw  that  a  serious  encounter  had  taken  place.  The  pilot-boat 
appeared  to  be  deeply  laden.  Next  day,  she  was  taken  to  the 
mazes  of  the  winding  and  wooded  creek,  where,  I  learned,  the 
booty  was  disembarked  and  hidden.  While  the  party  had  gone 
to  complete  this  portion  of  their  enterprise,  the  Frenchman,  who 
was  wounded  in  the  head  and  remained  behind,  took  that  oppor- 
tunity to  enlighten  me  on  passing  events.  When  the  wreckers 
reached  Cayo  Verde,  they  found  the  French  vessel  already  taken 
possession  of  by  "  fishermen  "  of  that  quarter.  Anticipated  in 
their  dirty  work,  our  comrades  were  in  no  mood  to  be  sociable 
with  the  fortunate  party.  An  affray  was  the  natural  result,  in 
which  knives  had  been  freely  used,  while  Mesclet  himself  had 
been  rescued  by  Rafael,  pistol  in  hand,  after  receiving  the  violent 
blow  on  his  head  from  which  he  was  now  suffering.  Having  se- 
cured a  retreat  to  their  boats,  they  were  just  beginning  to  think 
of  a  rapid  departure,  when  the  friendly  pilot-boat  hove  in  sight. 
So  fortunate  a  reinforcement  renerved  our  gang.  A  plan  of 
united  action  was  quickly  concerted.  The  French  vessel  was 
again  boarded  and  carried.  Two  of  the  opposite  party  were 
slain  in  the  onslaught;  and,  finally,  a  rich  remnant  of  the  cargo 
was  seized,  though  the  greater  part  of  the  valuables  had,  no 
doubt,  been  previously  dispatched  ashore  by  the  earlier  band  of 
desperadoes. 

"  Thank  God  !  "  added  the  narrator,  "  we  have  now  the  boat 
and  the  assistance  of  Bachicha,  who  is  as  brave  as  Rafael :  with 
his  "  Baltimore  clipper ^^  we  shall  conduct  our  affairs  on  a  grander 
scale  than  heretofore.  Sacrebleu  I  we  may  now  cruise  under  the 
Columbian  flag,  and  rob  Peter  to  pay  Paul !  " 

In  fact,  the  "  clipper  "  had  brought  down  an  ample  store  of 
ammunition,  under  the  innocent  name  of  "  provisions,"  while  she 
carried  in  her  bowels  a  long  six,  which  she  was  ready  to  mount 
amidships  at  a  momcLt's  notice. 

But  poor  Mesclet  did  not  live  to  enjoy  the  fruits  of  the  larger 
piracy,  which  he  hoped  to  carry  on  in  a  more  elegant  way  with 
Bachicha.  The  roue  could  not  be  restrained  from  the  favorite 
beverages  of  his  beautiful  France.     His  wound  soon  mastered 


48  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

him;  and,  in  a  month,  all  that  was  mortal  of  this  gallant  Gaul, 
who,  in  earlier  years,  had  figured  in  the  best  saloons  of  his  coun- 
try, rested  among  sand-graves  of  a  Cuban  key. 

"  Ah  !  "  growled  Gallego,  as  they  came  home  from  his  burial, 
"  there  is  one  less  to  share  our  earnings ;  and,  what  is  better, 
claret  and  brandy  will  be  more  plentiful  now  that  this  sponge  is 
under  the  sand  !  " 

In  a  few  days,  the  boats  were  laden  with  fish  for  the  main- 
land, in  order  to  cover  the  real  object  of  our  patroiVs  visit  to 
Cuba,  which  was  to  dispose  of  the  booty.  At  his  departure,  he 
repeated  the  cherished  promise  of  liberty,  and  privately  hinted 
that  I  had  better  continue  fishing  on  good  terms  with  Senor  Gal- 
lego. 

It  required  some  time  to  repair  the  nets,  for  they  had  been 
rather  neglected  during  our  late  fishing,  so  that  it  was  not,  in 
fact,  until  Rafael  had  been  three  days  gone  that  I  took  the  canoe 
with  Gallego,  and  dropped  anchor  outside  the  reef,  to  take  break- 
fast before  beginning  our  labor. 

We  had  hardly  begun  a  frugal  meal  when,  suddenly,  a  large 
schooner  shot  from  behind  a  bend  of  the  island,  and  steered 
in  our  direction.  As  the  surly  Spaniard  never  spoke,  I  had 
become  accustomed  to  be  equally  silent.  Unexpectedly,  how- 
ever, he  gave  a  scowling  glance  from  beneath  his  shaggy  brows 
at  the  vessel,  and  exclaimed  with  unusual  energy:  "A  Columbian 
privateer  1  " 

"  We  had  best  up  anchor,  and  get  inside  the  reef,"  continued 
he,  "  or  our  sport  will  be  spoiled  for  the  day." 

"  Pshaw  !  "  returned  I,  "  she's  not  making  for  us,  and,  even 
if  she  were,  I  wouldn't  be  such  a  coward  as  to  run  !  "  Indeed, 
I  had  heard  so  much  of  "  Columbian  privateers  "  and  the  patriot 
service,  that  I  rather  longed  to  be  captured,  that  I  might  try  my 
hand  at  lawful  war  and  glory.  The  impulse  was  sudden  and 
silly. 

Still  Gallego  insisted  on  retreating ;  until,  at  length,  we  got 
into  an  angry  controversy,  which  the  cook,  who  was  in  the  bow 
of  the  boat,  attempted  to  end  by  cutting  the  anchor-rope.     As 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  49 

he  was  drawing  his  knife  to  execute  this  purpose,  I  swiftly  lifted 
an  oar,  and,  with  a  single  blow,  laid  him  senseless  in  the  bottom 
of  the  canoe.  By  this  time  the  schooner  was  within  pistol-shot ; 
and,  as  she  passed  with  a  three-knot  breeze,  the  captain,  who  had 
witnessed  the  scene,  threw  a  grappling-iron  into  our  skiff,  and 
taking  us  in  tow,  dragged  the  boat  from  its  moorings. 

As  soon  as  we  got  into  deeper  water,  I  was  ordered  on  deck, 
while  Gallego,  still  quite  insensible,  was  hoisted  carefully  on 
board.  I  told  the  truth  as  to  our  dispute,  reserving,  however, 
the  important  fact  that  I  had  been  originally  urged  into  the  quar- 
rel by  my  anxiety  "  to  ship  "  on  board  a  privateer. 

"  I  want  a  pilot  for  Key  West,"  said  the  master,  hurriedly, 
"  and  I  have  no  time  to  trifle  with  your  stupid  quarrels.  Can 
either  of  you  perform  this  service  ?  " 

By  this  time  Gallego  had  been  somewhat  roused  from  his 
stupor,  and  pointing  feebly  towards  me,  uttered  a  languid  : — 
*'  Yes,  and  an  excellent  one." 

Mistaking  the  word  "  "pilote^^  which  in  Spanish  signifies 
"  navigator,"  the  French  captain,  who  spoke  the  Castilian  very 
badly,  translated  it  into  the  more  limited  meaning  attached  to 
that  peculiar  profession,  one  of  whose  miuuters  he  was  anxious 
to  secure. 

"  Ban  ! "  said  the  master,  "  put  the  other  fellow  back  into 
his  skiff,  and  make  sail  at  once  under  charge  of  this  youngster." 

I  remonstrated,  protested,  declaimed,  swore,  that  I  knew  no- 
thing of  Key  West  and  its  approaches  ;  but  all  my  efforts  were 
vain.     I  was  a  pilot  in  spite  of  myself 

The  malicious  cook  enjoyed  the  joke  of  which  I  had  so  has- 
tily become  the  victim.  As  they  lowered  him  again  into  the 
boat,  he  jeered  at  my  incredulity,  and  in  ten  minutes  was  towed 
to  the  edge  of  the  reef,  where  the  scamp  was  turned  adrift  to 
make  for  the  island. 

When  the  schooner  was  once  more  under  full  sail,  I  was  or- 
dered to  give  the  course  for  Key  West.  I  at  once  informed  the 
captain,  whose  name  I  understood  to  be  Lamine,  that  he  really 
labored  under  a  mistake  in  translating  the  Spanish  word  pilote 
into  port  guide,  and  assured  him  that  Gallego  had  been  prompted 
3 


60  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

by  a  double  desire  to  get  rid  of  him  as  well  as  me  by  fostering 
bis  pernicious  error.  I  acknowledged  that  I  was  a  "  pilot^''''  or 
"navigator,"  though  not  a  ^^ practico,''''  or  harbor-pilot;  yet  I 
urged  that  I  could  not,  without  absolute  foolhardiness,  undertake 
to  conduct  his  schooner  into  a  port  of  which  I  was  utterly  igno- 
rant, and  had  never  visited.  Hereupon  the  first  lieutenant  or 
mate  interposed.  This  fellow  was  a  short,  stout-built  person  of 
thirty-five,  with  reddish  whiskers  and  hair,  a  long-projecting  un- 
der-jaw,  and  eye-teeth  that  jutted  out  like  tusks.  To  add  to  his 
ugliness,  he  was  sadly  pitted  by  small-pox,  and  waddled  about  on 
short  duck  legs,  which  were  altogether  out  of  proportion  to  his 
long  body,  immense  arms,  and  broad,  massive  shoulders.  I  do 
not  remember  a  more  vulgarly  repulsive  person  than  this  pri- 
vateering lieutenant. 

"  He  is  a  liar,  Captain  Lamine,  and  only  wants  to  extort 
money  for  his  services,"  interjected  the  brute.  "  Leave  him  to 
me,  sir  ;  I'll  find  a  way  to  refresh  his  memory  of  Key  West  that 
will  open  the  bottom  of  the  gulf  to  his  eyes  as  clearly  as  the 
pathway  to  his  piratical  hut  on  the  sand-key  !  To  the  helm, 
sir — to  the  helm  !  " 

What  possible, qbject  or  result  could  I  gain  by  resistance 
amid  the  motley  assemblage  that  surrounded  me  on  the  deck  of 
the  "  CapvA-bobo  ?  "  She  was  a  craft  of  about  200  tons  ;  and, 
with  her  crew  of  seventy-five,  composed  of  the  scourings  of  all 
nations,  castes,  and  colors,  bore  a  commission  from  the  author- 
ities of  Carthagena  to  burn,  sink  and  destroy  all  Spanish  prop- 
erty she  was  strong  enough  to  capture.  Lamine  was  born  in 
the  isle  of  France,  while  Lasquetti,  the  lieutenant,  was  a 
Creole  of  Pensacola.  The  latter  spoke  French  and  Spanish  quite 
well,  but  very  little  English ;  while  both  master  and  mate  were 
almost  entirely  ignorant  of  navigation,  having  intrusted  that  task 
to  the  third  lieutenant,  who  was  then  ill  with  yellow  fever.  The 
second  lieutenant  was  absent  on  board  a  prize. 

Thus  forced  to  take  charge  of  a  privateer  without  a  moment's 
warning,  I  submitted  with  the  best  grace,  and,  calling  for  charts 
and  instruments,  I  shaped  my  way  for  the  destined  port.  All 
day  we  steered  west-north-west,  but  at  sunset,  as  we  had  run 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  51 

along  smartly,  I  ordered  the  schooner  to  be  "  laid  to  "  for  the 
night.  The  wind  and  weather  were  both  charmingly  fair,  and 
objections  were  of  course  made  to  my  command.  But,  as  the 
most  difficult  part  of  our  navigation  was  to  be  encountered  during 
the  night,  if  I  kept  on  my  course,  I  resolved  to  persist  to  the 
last  in  my  resolution,  and  I  was  fortunate  enough  to  carry  my 
point. 

'•  D — n  you,"  said  Lasquetti,  as  the  vessel  was  brought  to  the 
wind  and  made  snug  for  the  night,  "  d — n  you.  Master  Teodore; 
this  laying-to  shall  give  you  no  rest,  at  least,  if  you  thought  to 
dodge  work,  and  get  into  a  hammock  by  means  of  it !  You  shall 
march  the  deck  all  night  to  see  that  we  don't  drift  on  a  reef,  if 
I  have  to  sit  up,  or  stand  up  till  day-dawn  to  watch  you  !  " 

Obedience,  alas  !  had  been  the  order  of  the  day  with  me  for 
a  long  while  ;  so  I  promenaded  the  lee  quarter  till  nearly  mid- 
night, when,  utterly  exhausted  by  fatigue,  I  sat  down  on  a  long 
brass  chaser,  and  almost  instantly  fell  asleep. 

I  know  not  how  long  I  rested,  but  a  tremendous  shock 
knocked  me  from  the  cannon  and  laid  me  flat  on  the  deck,  bleed- 
ing from  mouth,  nose  and  ears.  Lasquetti  stood  beside  me, 
cigar  in  hand,  laughing  immoderately,  blaspheming  like  a  demon, 
and  kicking  me  in  the  ribs  with  his  rough  wet-weather  boots. 
He  had  detected  me  asleep,  and  touched  off  the  gun  with  his 
havanna ! 

The  explosion  aroused  all  hands,  and  brought  the  commander 
on  deck.  My  blood  flowed,  but  it  did  not  pour  fast  enough  to 
relieve  my  agonizing  rage.  As  soon  as  I  recovered  conscious- 
ness, I  seized  the  first  heavy  implement  I  could  grasp,  and  rushed 
at  my  aggressor,  whose  skull  was  saved  from  the  blow  by  de- 
scending beneath  the  combings  of  the  hatchway,  which,  the  in- 
stant after,  were  shivered  by  the  descent  of  my  heavy  weapon. 
Lamine  was  a  man  of  some  sensibility,  and,  though  selfish,  as 
usual  with  his  set,  could  not  avoid  at  once  reprimanding  Lasquetti 
with  uncommon  severity  in  presence  of  his  men. 

That  afternoon,  I  was  fortunate  enough,  by  the  aid  of  a  good 
chart,  and  a  sort  of  navigating  instinct^  to  anchor  the  "  Oara- 
bobo  "  in  the  narrow  harbor  of  Key  West.    When  Lamine  went 


52  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

ashore,  he  ordered  me  not  to  leave  the  schooner,  while  sentries 
were  placed  to  prevent  boats  from  boarding  or  even  approaching 
us.  Hardly  was  the  master  out  of  the  vessel  before  two  men 
seized  me  as  I  looked  at  the  shore  through  a  telescope.  In  the 
twinkling  of  an  eye,  I  was  hurried  below  and  double-ironed ;  nor 
would  I  have  received  a  morsel  of  food  save  bread  and  water 
during  our  detention,  had  I  not  been  secretly  fed  by  some  good 
fellows  from  the  forecastle,  who  stole  to  me  after  dark  with  the 
remnant  of  their  rations.  This  was  the  cowardly  revenge  of 
Lasquetti. 

On  the  third  day,  Lamine  returned,  bringing  an  American 
pilot  for  the  coast  and  islands.  I  was  set  at  liberty  as  he  was 
seen  approaching ;  and  when  we  got  under  way  on  another 
cruise,  I  was  commanded  to  do  duty  as  sailing-master,  which  I 
promptly  refused  with  spirited  indignation,  until  I  received  sat- 
isfaction from  the  dastard  lieutenant.  But  this  fellow  had  taken 
care  to  forestall  me,  by  assuring  Lamine  that  he  never  dreamed 
of  securing  me  until  I  was  caught  in  the  very  act  of  escaping 
from  the  schooner  ! 

During  a  week's  cruise  of  indifferent  success  with  these 
"  patriots,"  I  won  the  kind  heart  of  the  American  pilot,  who 
heard  the  story  of  my  late  adventures  with  patience ;  and,  through 
his  influence  with'the  commander,  my  lot  was  mitigated,  notwith- 
standing my  refusal  to  do  duty.  By  this  time,  the  third  lieuten- 
ant was  restored  to  sufficient  health  to  resume  the  deck.  He 
was  a  native  of  Spain  and  a  gallant  sailor.  Many  an  hour  did 
he  pass  beside  me,  recounting  his  adventures  or  listening  to 
mine,  until  I  seemed  to  win  his  sympathy,  and  insure  his  assist- 
ance for  relief  from  this  miserable  tyranny. 

At  length,  the  schooner's  course  was  shaped  for  the  Cruz  del 
Padre,  while  I  was  summoned  to  the  cabin.  I  perceived  at  once 
a  singular  change  for  the  better  in  Monsieur  Lamine 's  manner. 
He  requested  me  to  be  seated  ;  pressed  me  to  accept  a  tumbler 
of  claret ;  inquired  about  my  health,  and  ended  this  harmonious 
overture  by  saying,  that  if  I  would  sign  a  document  exonerating 
him  from  all  charges  of  compulsory  detention  or  ill-treatment,  he 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  53 

would  pay  mc  two  hundred  dollars  for  my  service,  and  land  me 
again  on  the  key. 

I  promptly  saw  that  his  object  in  replacing  me  on  the  island 
was  to  prevent  my  complaints  against  his  conduct  from  reaching 
the  ears  of  a  tribunal  in  a  neutral  port ;  and,  accordingly,  I 
declined  the  proposition, — demanding,  however,  to  be  put  on 
board  of  any  vessel  we  met,  no  matter  what  might  be  her  nation- 
ality. I  sternly  refused  his  money,  and  insisted  that  my  only 
desire  was  to  be  free  from  his  brutal  officer. 

But  Lamine  was  in  power  and  I  was  not.  In  the  end.  I 
discovered  that  worse  consequences  might  befall  me  among  these 
ruffians,  if  I  hesitated  to  take  the  recompense  and  sign  the 
paper.  In  fact,  I  began  to  be  quite  satisfied  that,  in  reality,  it 
was  an  escape  to  be  freed  from  the  privateer,  even  if  I  took 
refuge  once  more  among  pirates  ! 

So,  after  a  good  deal  of  claret  and  controversy  had  been 
wasted,  I  signed  the  document  and  pocketed  the  cash. 

As  the  first  bars  of  safi'ron  streaked  the  east  next  morning, 
the  reef  of  the  Cruz  del  Padre  hove  in  sight  dead  ahead.  The 
third  lieutenant  presented  me  at  my  departure  with  a  set  of 
charts,  a  sp3'-glass,  a  quadrant,  and  a  large  bag  of  clothes  ;  while, 
in  the  breast  of  a  rich  silk  waistcoat,  he  concealed  three  ounces 
and  a  silver  watch,  which  he  desired  me  to  wear  in  honor  of  him, 
if  ever  I  was  fortunate  enough  to  tread  the  streets  of  Havana. 
Several  of  the  white  sailors  also  offered  me  useful  garments  ;  and 
a  black  fellow,  who  had  charge  of  the  boat  in  which  I  was  sent 
ashore,  forced  on  me  two  sovereigns,  which  he  considered  a  small 
gratuity  to  "  a  countryman  "  in  distress.  He  hailed  from  Mar- 
blehead,  and  protested  that  he  knew  me  in  Salem  when  I  was  a 
lad. 

As  the  boat  approached  the  ranclio's  cove,  I  perceived  every 
body  under  arms,  and  heard  Don  Rafael  command  my  boatmen, 
in  a  loud,  imperious  voice,  to  begone,  or  he  would  fire.  Standing 
on  the  thwarts  of  the  boat,  I  ordered  the  oarsmen  to  back  water, 
and  leaping  into  the  sea,  waist-deep,  struggled  alone  to  the  beach, 
calling  "  mi  tio  !  mi  tio  ! '' — ^'tny  uncle  !  Don  Rafael !  " — who, 
recognizing  my  voice  and  gestures,  promptly  rushed  forward  to 


54  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

embrace  me.  Our  boat  was  then  allowed  to  approacli  the  land- 
ing and  disburthen  itself  of  the  gifts.  I  thought  it  best  to 
request  my  sable  ally  from  Marblehead  to  narrate,  in  as  good 
Spanish  or  lingua-franca  as  he  could  press  into  his  service,  the 
whole  story  of  my  capture  and  the  conduct  of  Gallego.  This 
being  done,  the  boat  and  its  crew  were  dispatched  aboard  with  a 
multitude  of  Spanish  courtesies  and  the  substantial  gift  of  some 
Chateau  Margaux. 

After  an  early  supper,  I  became  the  lion  of  the  evening,  and 
was  requested  to  give  a  narrative  of  my  cruise  in  the  "  patriot 
service."  I  noticed  that  some  of  the  gang  looked  on  me  askance 
with  an  incredulous  air,  while  others  amused  themselves  by 
smoking  and  spitting  in  a  very  contemptuous  way  whenever  I 
reached  what  I  conceived  to  be  a  thrilling  portion  of  my  story. 
At  its  conclusion,  I  arose  and  deposited  in  the  hands  of  Don 
Rafael  my  gifts  of  two  hundred  dollars  and  the  two  sovereigns. 
This  evidence  of  reciprocity  seemed  to  restore  the  good  temper 
of" my  impatient  hearers,  so  that,  by  the  time  the  2)(itron  went 
round  the  circle,  giving  each  man  his  share  of  my  earnings, — not 
even  omitting  Gallego, — my  credit  was  almost  restored  among 
the  gang. 

"  As  for  these  two  pieces  of  gold,  these  charts,  instruments 
and  clothes,"  said  Don  Rafael,  "  they  are  the  property  of  the 
youth,  and  I  am  sure  none  of  you  are  mean  enough  to  divide 
them.  The  money  was  another  thing.  That  was  his  earning,  as 
the  '  fishing  revenue '  is  ours  ;  and  as  he  is  entitled  to  a  share 
of  what  we  gain,  we  are  entitled  to  participate  in  whatever  he 
wins.  Yet,  amigos,  this  is  not  all.  My  nephew,  caballeros,  has 
been  accused,  by  one  of  this  party,  during  his  absence,  of  being 
not  only  a  contemptible  thief,  but  a  traitor  and  coward.  Now, 
as  these  are  three  '  blasphemous  vituperations  '  which  are  not  to 
be  found  under  any  head  in  my  prayer-book,  and  never  were 
chargeable  on  the  blood  of  our  family,  I  insist  on  immediate  jus- 
tice to  my  kinsman.  Let  that  cowardly  scoundrel  repeat  and 
prove  his  accusation  of  Teodore,  face  to  face  !  You,  senores, 
shall  stand  judges.  Every  thing  shall  be  fair.  To-night,  my 
boy  shall  be  found  guilty  or  purged  of  the  baseness  imputed  to 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  55 

him  ;  and,  moreover,  I  apprise  you  now,  that  if  he  is  innocent,  I 
shall  to-morrow  restore  him  to  liberty.  His  voluntary  return 
was  a  voucher  of  honesty  ;  and  I  doubt  whether  there  is  a  clever 
man  among  you  who  does  not  agree  with  me.  Stand  forth,  Gal- 
lego,  and  charge  this  youth  again  with  the  infamy  you  heaped  on 
him  while  he  was  away." 

But  the  sullen  wretch  bowed  his  head,  with  a  hang-dog  look, 
and  rolled  his  black  and  bushy  skull  slowly  from  side  to  side, 
with  an  air  of  bullying  defiance.  Still  he  remained  perfectly 
silent. 

"  Stand  forth,  Gallego,  once  more,  I  say  ! "  shouted  Don 
Rafael,  stamping  with  fury  and  foaming  at  the  mouth  ;  "  stand 
forth,  imp  of  the  devil,  and  make  good  your  charge,  or  I'll  trice 
you  up  to  these  rafters  by  your  thumbs,  and  lash  you  with  a  cow- 
hide till  your  stretched  skin  peels  off  in  ribbons  !  " 

The  threat  restored  Gall'ego's  voice  ;  but  he  could  only  say 
that  there  was  no  use  in  repeating  the  charges,  because  the  case 
was  prejudged,  and  all  feared  Don  Rafael  and  his  parasite  to 
such  a  degree  that  it  was  impossible  to  treat  him  with  justice. 
"  Yet,  look  ye,  seHores,  if  I  can't  talk,  I  can  fight.  If  Don  Rafael 
is  ready  to  meet  me,  knife  in  hand,  in  support  of  my  cause,  why, 
all  I  have  to  say  is,  that  I  am  ready  for  him  and  his  bastard 
to  boot !  " 

In  a  moment,  Rafael's  knife  was  out  of  his  belt,  and  the  two 
sprang  forward  in  a  death-struggle,  which  would  doubtless  have 
been  a  short  affair,  had  not  the  whole  party  interposed  between 
the  combatants  and  forbidden  the  fight.  In  the  hurly  burly, 
Gallego  took  to  his  heels  and  departed. 

The  scoundrel's  escape  caused  some  alarm  in  the  camp,  as  it 
was  feared  he  might  leave  the  island,  and,  turning  king's  evi- 
dence, make  the  waters  of  Cuba  too  hot  for  the  band.  Accord- 
ingly, all  the  canoes  and  boats  that  night  were  drawn  up  on  the 
beach  and  kept  under  double  watch. 

When  order  was  restored  in  the  rancho^  I  asked  Don  Rafael 
to  explain  the  "  three  accusations  "  that  had  been  made  against 
my  fair  fame ;  when  I  learned  that  I  was  charged  by  Gallego 
with  having  felled  him  in  the  boat,  with  having  shipped  volun- 


56 

tarily  in  the  privateer,  and  with  returning  in  the  Cara-bobo's 
boats  to  rob  the  rancho  of  its  valuables  I 

The  first  of  the  allegations  I  admitted  to  be  true;  the  second 
had  been  disproved  by  the  privateer's  boatmen ;'  and,  as  to  the 
third,  I  at  once  insisted  upon  the  party's  taking  torches  and 
accompanying  me  to  the  graveyard,  where,  I  told  them,  they 
would  find — as,  in  truth,  they  did — the  valuables  this  villain  had 
charged  me  with  stealing.  On  our  way  thither,  I  recouiiied  the 
manner  in  which  I  detected  his  infamy. 

Next  morning  we  divided  into  two  parties,  and  taking  the 
dogs,  proceeded  in  chase  of  the  dastard  Galician.  He  was 
quickly  tracked  by  the  hounds  and  caught  asleep,  with  two  empty 
flasks  beside  him. 

A  drum-head  court-martial  at  once  convened  for  his  trial,  and 
it  was  unanimously  resolved  to  chain  him  to  a  tree,  where  he  was 
to  be  left  exposed  to  the  elements  until  he  starved  to  death. 
The  passive  and  silent  fit  had  again  come  over  Gallego.  I  im- 
plored that  the  sentence  might  be  softened,  but  I  was  laughed  at 
for  my  childish  pity,  and  ordered  home  to  the  rancho.  The  com- 
mand to  chain  him  having  been  executed,  the  Spanish  outcast 
was  left  to  his  terrible  fate.  One  of  the  men,  out  of  compassion, 
as  he  said,  secretly  conveyed  a  case  of  gin  to  the  doomed  man, 
and  left  it  within  reach,  either  to  solace  his  departure  from  the 
world,  or  to  render  him  insensible.  But  his  end  was  speedy. 
Next  morning  the  guard  found  him  dead,  with  six  empty  bottles 
out  of  the  case.  His  body  was  denied  the  rites  of  sepulture. 
It  was  left  lying  in  chains  as  he  perished,  to  rot  in  the  sun  and 
be  devoured  by  the  insects  generated  from  his  decay. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  67 


CHAPTER    VI. 

When  these  dreadful  scenes  were  over,  Don  Rafael  took  me 
aside  with  the  pleasant  news  that  the  time  for  my  liberation  was 
indeed  arrived.  He  handed  me  one  hundred  and  twenty-five 
dollars,  which  were  my  share  of  the  proceeds  of  our  lawful 
fishing.  "  Take  the  money,"  said  Rafael,  with  a  good  deal  of 
feeling;  "  take  it,  young  man,  with  jye^/cc^  confidence; — th.crc  is 
no  blood  on  it .'" 

My  preparations  for  departure  were  quickly  made,  as  Bachi- 
cha  was  in  the  cove  with  his  craft  ready  to  take  me  to  the  main- 
land. I  bade  a  hasty  adieu  to  the  gang ;  and  perhaps  it  is  rare 
that  any  one  ever  abandoned  the  companions  of  several  months' 
intimacy  with  so  little  pain.  Rafael's  solicitude  for  my  character 
touched  me.  He  had  done  all  in  his  power  to  preserve  my  self- 
respect,  and  I  was,  therefore,  well  disposed  to  regard  the  good 
counsel  he  gave  me  at  parting,  and  to  believe  in  his  sincerity 
when  he  pictured  a  bright  future,  and  contrasted  it  with  his  own 
desolation  and  remorse. 

•'  I  have  recommended  you,  hijo  mio,  to  a  friend  in  Regla, 
on  the  opposite  side  of  the  harbor  at  Havana,  who  will  take 
care  of  you.  He  is  a  paisano  of  ours.  Take  these  additional 
ten  ounces,  which  are  the  fruit  of  honest  labor.  They  will  help 
you  to  appear  properly  in  Havana ;  so  that,  with  the  care  of 
Bachicha  and  our  Regla  countryman,  I  don't  despair  of  your 
welfare.  Adios  !  para  siempre !  " 
3* 


58  CAPTAIN  canot;  or. 

And  so  we  parted  ; — and  it  was,  indeed,  an  adieu  for  ever. 
We  never  met  again,  but  I  heard  of  Don  Rafael  and  bis  fortunes. 
The  new  enterprise  with  the  pilot-boat  turned  out  successfully, 
and  the  band  acquired  considerable  property  on  the  island  before 
the  piratical  nests  along  the  coast  of  Cuba  were  broken  up  by 
cruisers.  Rafael  had  some  narrow  escapes  from  the  noose  and 
the  yard-arm ;  but  he  eluded  the  grasp  of  his  pursuers,  and  died 
a  respectable  ranchero  on  a  comfortable  farm  in  the  interior  of 
the  Queen  of  the  Antilles. 

The  light  winds  of  summer  soon  brought  us  inside  the  Moro 
Castle,  past  the  frowning  batteries  of  the  Cabanas,  and  at 
anchor  near  Regla,  within  the  beautiful  harbor  of  Havana.  I 
shall  never  forget  the  impression  made  on  my  mind  by  this  deli- 
cious scene  as  it  first  broke  on  my  sight  at  sunrise,  in  all  the  cool 
freshness  of  morning.  The  grand  amphitheatre  of  hills  swept 
down  to  the  calm  and  lake-like  water  with  gentle  slopes,  lapped 
in  the  velvet  robes  of  richest  green,  and  embroidered,  as  it  were, 
with  lace-like  spots  of  castle,  fort,  dwelling,  and  villa,  until  the 
seaward  points  were  terminated  on  the  left,  by  the  brilliant  city, 
and  on  the  right  by  a  pile  of  majestic  batteries. 

This  grand  and  lasting  impression  was  made  almost  at  a 
glance,  for,  at  my  time  of  life,  I  was  more  concerned  with  man 
than  nature,  and  rarely  paused  to  dwell  on  the  most  fascinating 
scenery.  Accordingly,  I  hastened  to  Regla  with  my  letter  of 
introduction,  which  was  interpreted  by  Bachicha  to  the  Italian 
grocer,  the  friend  of  Rafael,  to  whom  I  was  confided.  II  signore 
Carlo  Cibo  was  an  illiterate  man  of  kind  heart,  who  had  adven- 
turously emigrated  from  Italy  to  furnish  the  Havanese  with  good 
things  ;  while,  in  return,  the  Havanese  had  been  so  pleased  with 
his  provender,  that  Carlo  may  be  said  to  have  been  a  man  "  very 
well  to  do  in  the  world  "for  a  foreigner.  He  received  me  with 
unbounded  kindness  ; — welcomed  me  to  his  bachelor  home  ; — 
apologized  for  its  cold  cheerlessness,  and  ordered  me  to  consider 
himself  and  his  "  casa  "  entirely  at  my  disposal  as  long  as  I 
chose  to  remain. 

I  was  content  to  accept   this  unstinted  hospitality  for  a  few 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  59 

days,  while  I  ran  over  the  town,  the  hills,  and  the  paseos ;  but  I 
could  not  consent  to  dally  long  eating  the  bread  of  idleness  and 
charity.  I  observed  that  my  friend  Carlo  was  either  the  most 
prudent  or  least  inquisitive  man  I  knew,  for  he  never  asked  me  a 
question  about  my  early  or  recent  history.  As  he  would  not 
lead  the  conversation  to  my  affairs,  I  one  day  took  the  liberty  to 
inquire  whether  there  was  a  vessel  in  port  bound  to  the  Pacific 
Ocean  or  Mexico,  in  which  my  protector  could  possibly  find  a 
situation  for  me  as  an  ofiicer,  or  procure  me  permission  to  work 
my  way  even  as  a  common  sailor. 

The  kind  grocer  instantly  divined  my  true  motive,  and  while 
he  honored  me  for  it,  deprecated  the  idea  of  my  departure.  He 
said  that  my  visit,  instead  of  being  a  burden,  was  a  pleasure  he 
could  not  soon  replace.  As  to  the  expenses  of  his  house,  he 
declared  they  were,  in  fact,  not  increased.  What  fed  five,  fed 
half  a  dozen  ;  and,  as  to  my  proposal  to  go  to  Mexico,  or  any 
other  place  in  Spanish  America  on  the  Continent,  with  a  view  of 
"  making  my  fortune,"  he  warmly  protested  against  it,  in  con- 
sequence of  his  own  experience. 

"  They  can  never  conquer  their  jealousy  oi  foreigners^''''  said 
Carlo ;  "  you  may  live  with  them  for  years,  and  imagine  your- 
self as  intimate  as  brothers  ;  but,  at  last,  carramba^  you  will 
find  something  turn  up,  that  marks  you  an  alien  and  kindles 
nationality  against  you.  Take  my  advice,  Don  Teodore,  stay 
where  you  are ;  study  Spanish  carefully ;  get  the  hang  of  the 
people  ;  and,  my  life  on  it,  before  long,  you'll  have  your  hands 
full  of  trump  cards  and  the  game  in  your  power." 

I  did  as  he  desired,  and  was  presented  to  a  corpulent 
old  quiz  of  a  padre^  who  pretended  to  instruct  me  in  classical 
Castilian.  Two  lessons  demonstrated  his  incapacity  ;  but  as  he 
was  a  jolly  gossip  of  my  grocer,  and  hail-fellow  with  the  whole 
village  of  Regla,  I  thought  it  good  policy  to  continue  his  pupil 
in  appearance,  while  I  taught  myself  in  private.  Besides  this, 
the  padre  was  a  bon  vivant  and  devoted  lover  of  fish.  Now,  as 
I  happened  to  be  a  good  sportsman,  with  a  canoe  at  my  com- 
mand, I  managed  to  supply  his  kitchen  with  an  abundance  of 
the  finny  tribe,  which  his  cook  was  an  adept  in  preparing.     It 


60  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

may  be  supposed  that  our  "  fast  days  "  were  especial  epochs  of 
delicious  reunion.  A  fine  dinner  smoked  on  the  table  ;  a  good 
bottle  was  added  by  the  grocer ;  and,  while  my  entertainer  dis- 
cussed the  viands,  I  contrived  to  keep  him  in  continual  chat, 
which,  in  reality,  was  the  best  practical  lesson  a  man  in  my 
circumstances  could  receive. 

It  is  strange  how  our  lives  and  destinies  are  often  decided  by 
trifles.  As  I  sailed  about  the  harbor  in  idleness,  my  nautical 
eye  and  taste  were  struck  by  the  trim  rig  of  the  sharp  built 
"  slavers,"  which,  at  that  time,  used  to  congregate  at  Havana. 
There  was  something  bewitching  to  my  mind  in  their  race-horse 
beauty.  A  splendid  vessel  has  always  had  the  same  influence  on 
my  mind,  that  I  have  heard  a  splendid  woman  has  on  the  minds 
of  other  men.  These  dashing  slavers^  with  their  arrowy  hulls 
and  raking  masts,  got  complete  possession  of  my  fancy.  There 
was  hardly  a  day  that  I  did  not  come  home  with  a  discovery  of 
added  charms.  Signor  Carlo  listened  in  silence  and  nodded  his 
head,  when  I  was  done,  with  an  approving  smile  and  a 
"  bueno  ! " 

I  continued  my  sailing  peregrinations  for  a  month  around  the 
harbor,  when  my  kind  entertainer  invited  me  to  accompany  him 
aboard  a  vessel  of  which,  he  said,  he  owned  two  shares — she 
was  hotcnd  to  Africa  I  The  splendid  clipper  was  one  of  the  very 
craft  that  had  won  my  heart ;  and  my  feverish  soul  was  com- 
pletely upset  by  the  gala-scene  as  we  drifted  down  the  bay,  par- 
taking of  a  famous  breakfast,  and  quaffing  bumpers  of  Cham- 
pagne to  the  schooner's  luck.  When  she  passed  the  Moro  Cas- 
tle we  leaped  into  our  boats,  and  gave  the  voyagers  three  hearty 
and  tipsy  cheers.     My  grocer  was  a  "  slaver !  " 

I  had  a  thousand  questions  for  the  Italian  in  regard  to  the 
trade,  now  that  I  found  he  belonged  to  the  fraternity.  All  my 
inquiries  were  gratified  in  his  usually  amiable  manner ;  and  that 
night,  in  my  dreams,  I  was  on  board  of  a  coaster  chased  by 
John  Bull. 

My  mind  was  made  up.  Mexico,  Peru,  South  American  in- 
dependence, patriotism,  and  all  that,  were  given  to  the  breezes 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  61 

of  the  gulf.  I  slept  off  my  headache  and  nightmare  ;  and  next 
morning  announced  to  Cibo  my  abandonment  of  the  Costa 
Firma,  and  my  anxiety  to  get  a  situation  in  a  vessel  bound  to 
Africa. 

In  a  few  days  I  was  told  that  my  wishes  would  perhaps  be 
gratified,  as  a  fast  vessel  from  the  Canaries  was  about  to  be 
sold ;  and  if  she  went  off  a  bargain,  Signer  Carlo  had  resolved 
to  purchase  her,  with  a  friend,  to  send  to  Africa. 

Accordingly,  the  Canary  ''  Globo  "  was  acquired  for  $3000 ; 
and  after  a  perfect  refitting  at  the  Casa-Blanca  of  Havana, 
loomed  in  the  harbor  as  a  respectable  pilot-boat  of  forty  tons. 
Her  name,  in  consequence  of  reputed  speed,  was  changed  to  "  El 
Areostatico  ;  "  a  culverine  was  placed  amidships;  all  the  requi- 
sites for  a  slave  cargo  were  put  on  board ;  fifteen  sailors,  the  re- 
fuse of  the  press-gang  and  jail-birds,  were  shipped  ;  powder,  am- 
munition, and  small  arms,  were  abundantly  supplied;  and,  last 
of  all,  four  kegs,  ballasted  with  specie,  were  conveyed  into  the 
cabin  to  purchase  our  return  cargo. 

It  was  on  the  2d  of  September,  182G,  after  a  charming  de- 
jeuner, that  I  bade  farewell  to  my  friend  Carlo  on  the  deck  of 
the  Areostatico,  cleared  for  the  Cape  de  Verd  isles,  but,  in 
truth,  bound  for  the  Rio  Pongo.  Our  orew  consisted  of  twenty- 
one  scamps — Spaniards,  Portuguese,  Frenchmen,  and  mongrels. 
The  Majorcan  captain  was  an  odd  character  to  intrust  with  such 
an  enterprise,  and  probably  nowhere  else,  save  in  Havana  at 
that  period,  would  he  have  been  allowed  to  command  a  slaver. 
He  was  a  scientific  navigator,  but  no  sailor ; — afraid  of  his 
shadow,  he  had  not  a  particle  of  confidence  in  his  own  judgment ; 
every  body  was  listened  to,  and  he  readily  yielded  his  opinions 
without  argument  or  controversy.  Our  chief  ofl&cer,  a  Catalonian 
cousin  of  the  captain,  made  no  pretensions  to  seamanship,  yet  he 
was  a  good  mathematician.  I  still  remember  the  laughs  1  had 
at  the  care  he  took  of  his  lily-white  hands,  and  the  jokes  we 
cracked  upon  his  girl-like  manners,  voice,  and  conversation.  The 
boatswain,  who  was  in  his  watch,  assured  me  that  he  rarely  gave 
an  order  without  humming  it  out  to  a  tune  of  some  favorite 
opera. 


62  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

In  this  fantastic  group,  I  occupied  the  position  of  supernu- 
merary officer  and  interpreter ;  but  accustomed,  as  I  had  been, 
to  wholesome  American  seamanship  and  discipline,  I  trembled 
not  a  little  when  I  discovered  the  amazing  ignorance  of  the  mas- 
ter, and  observed  the  utter  worthlessness  of  our  crew.  These 
things  made  me  doubly  vigilant ;  and  sometimes  I  grieved  that 
I  was  not  still  in  Regla,  or  on  the  paseo.  On  the  tenth  day  out, 
a  northwester  began  to  pipe  and  ripen  to  a  gale  as  the  sea  rose 
with  it.  Sail  had  been  soon  diminished  on  the  schooner;  but 
when  I  was  relieved  in  my  watch  by  the  first  officer,  I  hinted. to 
the  captain  that  it  would  be  best  to  lay  the  vessel  to  as  soon  as 
possible.  We  had  been  scudding  before  the  tempest  for  some 
hours  under  a  close-reefed  foresail,  and  I  feared  if  we  did  not 
bring  our  craft  to  the  wind  at  once,  we  would  either  run  her  un- 
der, or  be  swamped  in  attempting  the  manoeuvre  when  the  waves 
got  higher.  The  captain,  however,  with  his  usual  submission  to 
the  views  of  the  wrong  person,  took  the  advice  of  the  helmsman, 
who  happened  to  be  older  than  I,  and  the  schooner  was  allowed 
to  dash  on  either  through  or  over  the  seas,  at  the  speed  of  a 
racer. 

By  this  time  the  forward  deck  was  always  under  water,  and 
the  men  gathered  abaft  the  trunk  to  keep  as  dry  as  possible. 
Officers  and  crew  were  huddled  together  pell-mell,  and,  with  our 
usual  loose  discipline,  every  body  joined  in  the  conversation  and 
counsel.  Before  sundown  I  again  advised  the  laying  to  of  the 
schooner ;  but  the  task  had  now  become  so  formidable  that  the 
men,  who  dreaded  the  job,  assured  the  captain  that  the  wind 
would  fall  as  the  moon  arose.  Yet,  when  the  dim  orb  appeared 
above  the  thick,  low-drifting  scud,  the  gale  increased.  The 
light  rather  limited  than  revealed  the  frightful  scene  around  that 
egg-shell  on  the  lashed  and  furious  sea.  Each  wave  swept  over 
us,  but  our  buoyant  craft  rose  on  the  succeeding  swell,  and  cleft 
its  crest  with  her  knife-like  prow.  It  was  now  too  late  to  at- 
tempt bringing  her  to  the  wind ;  still  it  became  more  urgent  to 
do  something  to  prevent  us  from  being  submerged  by  the  huge 
seas,  which  came  thundering  after  us  like  avalanches  on  our 
quarters. 


TWENTY'  YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  63 

The  perilous  dilemma  of  our  doubtful  captain  and  his  dainty- 
mate,  may  be  easily  imagined.  Every  body  had  an  opinion,  and 
of  course  they  vied  with  each  other  in  absurdity ; — at  last  some 
one  proposed  to  cut  away  the  foresail,  and  bring  her  to  the  wind 
under  bare  poles. 

I  was  "  conning  "  the  schooner  when  this  insane  scheme  was 
broached,  and  fearing  that  the  captain  might  adopt  it,  I  leaped 
on  the  hatch,  after  calling  the  boatswain  to  my  place,  and  as- 
sured the  crew  that  if  they  severed  the  sail,  we  would  lose  com- 
mand of  the  vessel,  so  that  with  impaired  headway,  the  next 
wave  that  struck  her  would  show  her  keel  to  the  skies  and  her 
deck  to  the  fishes.  I  exhorted  them  to  drive  her  faster  if  pos- 
sible rather  than  stop.  To  turn  out  the  "  balance  reef,"  I  said, 
was  our  only  salvation ; — and  I  alleged  that  I  had  seen  a  vessel 
saved  before  in  precisely  the  same  way.  Cowards,  with  death 
clutching  their  throats,  were  soon  convinced  by  a  man  of  nerve. 
I  availed  myself  of  the  instantaneous  silence  that  followed  my 
act,  and  before  the  captain  could  think  or  speak,  I  leaped  to  the 
boom  with  my  sharp  knife,  cutting  the  reef-points  slowly  and 
carefully,  so  as  not  to  allow  the  foresail  to  be  inflated  and  torn  by 
a  single  blast. 

My  judgment  was  correct.  Our  increased  canvas  immediately 
sent  us  skimming  over  the  waves  ;  the  rollers  no  longer  combed 
dangerously  over  our  quarter ;  we  scudded  steadily  throughout 
the  remnant  of  the  gale  ;  and,  next  night,  at  sundown,  we  rested 
on  a  quiet,  lake-like  ocean,  taughtening  the  strained  rigging,  and 
priding  ourselves  mightily  on  the  hazards  we  encountered  and 
overcame.  The  Minorcan  skipper  was  satisfied  that  no  man  ever 
before  performed  so  daring  an  exploit.  He  was,  moreover,  con- 
vinced, that  no  one  but  himself  could  have  carried  the  schooner 
through  so  frightful  a  storm,  or  would  have  invented  the  noble 
expedient  of  driving  instead  of  stripping  her  ! 

From  this  hour  all  semblance  of  regular  discipline  was  aban- 
doned. Sailors,  who  are  suff"ered  to  tread  the  quarter-deck  familiarly 
and  offer  their  opinions,  never  get  over  the  permitted  freedom.  Our 
ragamuffins  of  the  Aerostatico  could  never  abide  the  idea  that  the 
youngest  seaman  aboard, — and  he,  too,  2^  foreigner, — should  have 


64  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

proved  the  best  sailor.  The  skilful  performance  of  my  duty  was 
the  source  of  a  rankling  grudge.  As  I  would  not  mix  with  the 
scamps,  they  called  me  arrogant.  My  orders  were  negligently 
obeyed ;  and,  in  fact,  every  thing  in  the  schooner  became  as 
comfortless  as  possible. 

Forty-one  days,  however,  brought  us  to  the  end  of  our  voyage 
at  the  mouth  of  the  Rio  Pongo.  No  one  being  acquainted  with 
the  river's  entrance  or  navigation,  the  captain  and  four  hands 
went  ashore  for  a  pilot,  who  came  off  in  the  afternoon,  while  our 
master  ascended  in  a  boat  to  the  slave-factory  at  Bangalang. 
Four  o'clock  found  us  entering  the  Rio  Pongo,  with  tide  and 
wind  in  our  favor,  so  that  before  the  sun  sank  into  the  Atlantic 
Ocean  we  were  safe  at  our  anchorage  below  the  settlement. 

While  we  were  slowly  drifting  between  the  river  banks,  and 
watching  the  gorgeous  vegetation  of  Africa,  which,  that  evening, 
first  burst  upon  my  sight,  I  fell  into  a  chat  with  the  native  pilot, 
who  had  been  in  the  United  States,  and  spoke  English  remarka- 
bly well  Berak  very  soon  inquired  whether  there  was  any  one 
else  on  board  who  spoke  the  language  besides  myself,  and  when 
told  that  the  cabin-boy  alone  knew  it,  he  whispered  a  story  which, 
in  truth,  I  was  not  in  the  least  surprised  to  hear. 

That  afternoon  one  of  our  crew  had  attempted  the  captain's 
life,  while  on  shore,  by  snapping  a  carabine  behind  his  back ! 
Our  pilot  learned  the  fact  from  a  native  who  followed  the  party 
from  the  landing,  along  the  beach;  and  its  truth  was  confirmed, 
in  his  belief,  by  the  significant  boasts  made  by  the  tallest  of  the 
boatmen  who  accompanied  him  on  board.  He  was  satisfied  that 
the  entire  gang  contemplated  our  schooner's  seizure. 

The  pilot's  story  corroborated  some  hints  I  received  from 
our  cook  during  the  voyage.  It  struck  me  instantly,  that  if  a 
crime  like  this  were  really  designed,  no  opportunity  for  its  ex- 
ecution could  be  more  propitious  than  the  present.  I  determined, 
therefore,  to  omit  no  precaution  that  might  save  the  vessel  and 
the  lives  of  her  honest  ofl&cers.  On  examining  the  carabines 
brought  back  from  shore,  which  I  had  hurriedly  thrown  into  the 
arm- chest  on  deck,  I  found  that  the  lock  of  this  armory  had  been 
forced,  and  several  pistols  and  cutlasses  abstracted. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  65 

Preparations  had  undoubtedly  been  made  to  assassinate  us. 
As  night  drew  on,  my  judgment,  as  well  as  nervousness^  con- 
vinced me  that  the  darkness  would  not  pass  without  a  murderous 
attempt.  There  was  an  unusual  silence.  On  reaching  port, 
there  is  commonly  fun  and  merriment  among  crews  ;  but  the 
usual  song  and  invariable  guitar  were  omitted  from  the  evening's 
entertainment.  I  searched  the  deck  carefully,  yet  but  two  ma- 
riners were  found  above  the  hatches  apparently  asleep.  Inasmuch 
as  I  was  only  a  subordinate  officer,  I  could  not  command,  nor 
h?d  I  any  confidence  in  the  nerve  or  judgment  of  the  chief  mate, 
if  I  trusted  my  information  to  him.  Still  I  deemed  it  a  duty 
to  tell  him  the  story,  as  well  as  my  discovery  about  the  missing 
arms.  Accordingly,  I  called  the  first  officer,  boatswain,  and  cook, 
as  quietly  as  possible,  into  the  cabin ;  leaving  our  English  cabin- 
boy  to  watch  in  the  companion  way.  Here  I  imparted  our  dan- 
ger, and  asked  their  assistance  in  striking  the  first  blow.  My  plan 
was  to  secure  the  crew,  and  give  them  battle.  The  mate,  as  I 
expected,  shrank  like  a  girl,  declining  any  step  till  the  captain 
returned.  The  cook  and  boatswain,  however,  silently  approved 
my  movement ;  so  that  we  counselled  our  cowardly  comrade  to 
remain  below,  while  we  assumed  the  responsibility  and  risk  of 
the  enterprise. 

It  may  have  been  rather  rash,  but  I  resolved  to  begin  the 
rescue,  by  shooting  down,  like  a  dog  and  without  a  word,  the 
notorious  Cuban  convict  who  had  attempted  the  captain's  life. 
This,  I  thought,  would  strike  panic  into  the  mutineers ;  and 
end  the  mutiny  in  the  most  bloodless  way.  Drawing  a  pair  of 
large  horse-pistols  from  beneath  the  captain's  pillow,  and  ex- 
amining the  load,  I  ordered  the  cook  and  boatswain  to  follow  me 
to  the  deck.  But  the  craven  officer  would  not  quit  his  hold  on 
my  person.  He  besought  me  not  to  commit  murder.  He  clung 
to  me  with  the  panting  fear  and  grasp  of  a  woman.  He  begged 
me,  with  every  term  of  endearment,  to  desist ;  and,  in  the  midst 
of  my  scuffle  to  throw  him  off,  one  of  the  pistols  accidentally  ex- 
ploded. A  moment  after,  my  vigilant  watch-boy  screamed  from 
the  starboard,  a  warning  "  look-out  !  "  and,  peering  forward  in  the 
blinding  darkness  as  I  emerged  from  the  lighted  cabin,  I  beheld  the 


66  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

stalwart  form  of  the  ringleader,  brandishing  a  cutlass  within  a 
stride  of  me.  I  aimed  and  fired.  We  both  fell :  the  mutineer 
with  two  balls  in  his  abdomen,  and  I  from  the  recoil  of  an  over- 
charged pistol. 

My  face  was  cut,  and  my  eye  injured  by  the  concussion  ;  but 
as  neither  combatant  was  deprived  of  consciousness,  in  a  moment 
we  were  both  on  our  feet.  The  Spanish  felon,  however,  pressed 
his  hand  on  his  bowels,  and  rushed  forward  exclaiming  he  was 
slain ;  but,  in  his  descent  to  the  forecastle,  he  was  stabbed  in 
the  shoulder  with  a  bayonet  by  the  boatswain,  whose  vigorous 
blow  drove  the  weapon  with  such  tremendous  force  that  it  could 
hardly  be  withdrawn  from  the  scoundrel's  carcass. 

I  said  I  was  up  in  a  minute  ;  and,  feeling  my  face  with  my 
hand,  I  perceived  a  quantity  of  blood  on  my  cheek,  around  which 
I  hastily  tied  a  handkerchief,  below  my  eyes.  I  then  rushed  to 
the  arm-chest.  At  that  moment,  the  crack  of  a  pistol,  and  a 
sharp,  boyish  cry,  told  me  that  my  pet  was  wounded  beside  me. 
I  laid  him  behind  the  hatchway,  and  returned  to  the  charge. 
By  this  time  I  was  blind  with  rage,  and  fought,  it  seems,  like  a 
madman.  I  confess  that  I  have  no  personal  recollection  what- 
ever of  the  following  events,  and  only  learned  them  from  the 
subsequent  report  of  the  cook  and  boatswain. 

I  stood,  they  said,  over  the  arm  chest  like  one  spell-bound. 
My  eyes  were  fixed  on  the  forecastle  ;  and,  as  head  after  head 
loomed  out  of  the  darkness  above  the  hatch,  I  discharged  cara- 
bine after  carabine  at  the  mark.  Every  thing  that  moved  fell  by 
my  aim.  As  I  fired  the  weapons,  I  flung  them  away  to  grasp 
fresh  ones  :  and,  when  the  battle  was  over,  the  cook  aroused  me 
from  my  mad  stupor,  still  groping  wildly  for  arms  in  the  emptied 
chest. 

As  the  smoke  cleared  off,  the  fore  part  of  our  schooner  seemed 
utterly  deserted  ;  yet  we  found  two  men  dead,  one  in  mortal 
agony  on  the  deck,  while  the  ringleader  and  a  colleague  were 
gasping  in  the  forecastle.  Six  pistols  had  been  fired  against  us 
from  fotward  ;  but,  strange  to  say,  the  only  efl&cient  ball  was  the 
one  that  struck  my  English  boy's  leg. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  67 

When  I  came  to  my  senses,  my  first  quest  was  for  the  gallant 
boatswain,  who,  being  unarmed  on  the  forecastle  when  the  unex- 
pected discharge  took  place,  and  seeing  no  chance  of  escape  from 
my  murderous  carabines,  took  refuge  over  the  bows. 

Our  cabin-boy  was  soon  quieted.  The  mutineers  needed  but 
little  care  for  their  hopeless  wounds,  while  the  felon  chief,  like  all 
such  wretches,  died  in  an  agony  of  despicable  fear,  shrieking  for 
pardon.     My  shriving  of  his  sins  was  a  speedy  rite  ! 

Such  was  my  first  night  in  Africa  ! 


68  CArXAlN    CANOT  ;    OR, 


CHAPTER    VII. 

There  are  casual  readers  who  may  consider  the  scene  describad 
in  the  last  chapter  unnatural.  It  may  be  said  that  a  youth, 
whose  life  had  been  checquered  by  trials  and  disasters,  but  who 
preserved  a  pure  sensibility  throughout  them,  is  sadly  distorted 
when  portrayed  as  expanding,  at  a  leap,  into  a  desperado.  I 
have  but  little  to  say  in  reply  to  these  objections,  save  that  the 
occurrences  are  perfectly  true  as  stated,  and,  moreover,  that  I 
am  satisfied  they  were  only  the  natural  developments  of  my 
character. 

From  my  earliest  years  I  have  adored  nobility  of  soul,  and 
detested  dishonor  and  treachery.  I  have  passed  through  scenes 
which  will  be  hereafter  told,  that  the  world  may  qualify  by  harsh 
names  ;  yet  I  have  striven  to  conduct  myself  throughout  them, 
not  only  Avith  the  ideas  of  fairness  current  among  reckless  men, 
but  with  the  truth  that,  under  all  circumstances,  characterizes 
an  honorable  nature. 

Now,  the  tragedy  of  my  first  night  on  the  Rio  Pongo  was 
my  transition  from  pupilage  to  responsible  independence.  I  do 
not  allege  in  a  boastful  spirit  that  I  was  a  man  of  courage  ;  be- 
cause courage,  or  the  want  of  it,  are  things  for  which  a  person 
is  no  more  responsible  than  he  is  for  the  possession  or  lack  of 
physical  strength.  I  was,  moreover,  always  a  man  of  what  I 
may  style  self-possessed  2^^ssion.  I  was  endowed  with  something 
more  than  cool  energy ;  or,  rather,  cool  energy  was  heightened 
and  sublimated  by  the  fire  of  an  ardent  nature.  Hitherto, 
I  had  been  tempered  down  by  the  habitual  obedience  to  which  !• 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  69 

was  subjected  as  a  sailor  under  lawful  discipline.  But  the 
events  of  the  last  six  months,  and  especially  the  gross  relaxation 
on  the  vo3^age  to  Africa,  the  risks  we  had  run  in  navigating  the 
vessel,  and  the  outlaws  that  surrounded  me,  not  only  kept  my 
mind  for  ever  on  the  alert,  but  aroused  my  dormant  nature  to  a 
full  sense  of  duty  and  self-protection. 

Is  it  unnatural,  then,  for  a  man  whose  heart  and  nerves  have 
been  laid  bare  for  months,  to  quiver  with  agony  and  respond 
with  headlong  violence,  when  imperilled  character,  property  and 
life,  hang  upon  the  fiat  of  his  courageous  promptitude  ?  The 
doubters  may  cavil  over  -the  philosophy,  but  I  think  I  may 
remain  content  with  the  fact.  /  did  my  duty — dreadful  as 
it  was. 

Let  me  draw  a  veil  over  our  gory  decks  when  the  gorgeous 
sun  of  Africa  shot  his  first  rays  through  the  magnificent  trees 
and  herbage  that  hemmed  the  placid  river.  Five  bodies  were 
cast  into  the  stream,  and  the  traces  of  the  tragedy  obliterated  as 
well  as  possible.  The  recreant  mate,  who  plunged  into  the 
cabin  at  the  report  of  the  first  pistol  from  the  forecastle,  reap- 
peared with  haggard  looks  and  trembling  frame,  to  protest  that 
Jlc  had  no  hand  in  what  he  called  "  the  murder."  The  cook, 
boatswain,  and  African  pilot,  recounted  the  whole  transaction  to 
the  master,  who  inserted  it  in  the  log-book,  and  caused  me  to  sign 
the  narrative  with  unimplicated  witnesses.  Then  the  wound  of 
the  cabin-boy  was  examined  and  found  to  be  trifling,  while  mine, 
though  not  painful,  was  thought  to  imperil  my  sight.  The  flint 
lock  of  a  rebounding  pistol  had  inflicted  three  gashes,  just  be- 
lieath  the  eye  on  my  cheek. 

There  was  but  little  appetite  for  breakfast  that  day.  After 
the  story  was  told  and  recorded,  we  went  sadly  to  work  unmoor- 
ing the  vessel,  bringing  her  slowly  like  a  hearse  to  an  anchorage 
in  front  of  Bangalang,  the  residence  and  factory  of  Mr.  Or- 
mond,  bettcc^nown  by  the  country-name  of  "  Mongo  John." 
This  personage  came  on  board  early  in  the  morning  with  our 
returned  captain,  and  promised  to  send  a  native  doctor  to  cure 
both  my  eye  and  the  boy's  leg,  making  me  pledge  him  a  visit  as 
soon  as  the  vessel's  duties  would  permit. 


70  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

That  evening  the  specie  was  landed,  and  the  schooner  left  in 
my  charge  by  the  master,  with  orders  to  strip,  repair,  and  pro- 
vide for  the  voyage  home.  Before  night,  Mongo  John  fulfilled 
his  promise  of  a  physician,  who  came  on  board  with  his  prescrip- 
tion,— not  in  his  pocket,  but  by  his  side  !  He  ordered  my  torn 
cheek  to  be  bathed,  every  half  hour,  ivith  human  milk  fresh 
from  tJie  breast ;  and,  in  order  to  secure  a  prompt,  pure,  and 
plentiful  supply,  a  stout  negress  and  her  infant  were  sent,  with 
orders  to  remain  as  long  as  her  lacteal  services  might  be  re- 
quired !  I  cannot  say  whether  nature  or  the  remedy  healed  my 
wound,  but  in  a  short  time  the  flesh  cicatrized,  and  all  symptoms 
of  inflammation  disappeared  entirely. 

It  required  ten  days  to  put  the  Areostatico  in  ship-shape  and 
supply  her  with  wood  and  water.  Provisions  had  been  brought 
from  Havana,  so  that  it  was  only  necessary  we  should  stow  them 
in  an  accessible  manner.  As  our  schooner  was  extremely  small, 
we  possessed  no  slave-deck;  accordingly,  mats  were  spread  over 
the  fire-wood  which  filled  the  interstices  of  the  water  casks,  in 
order  to  make  an  even  surface  for  our  cargo's  repose. 

When  my  tiresome  task  was  done,  I  went  ashore — almost  for 
the  first  time — to  report  progress  to  the  master;  but  he  was  still 
unprepared  to  embark  his  living  freight.  Large  sums,  far  in 
advance  of  the  usual  market,  were  offered  by  him  for  a  cargo  of 
boys ;  still  we  were  delayed  full  twenty  days  longer  than  our 
contract  required  before  a  supply  reached  Bangalang. 

As  I  had  promised  Mongo  John^  or  John  the  Chief,  to  visit 
his  factory,  I  took  this  opportunity  to  fulfil  my  pledge.  He 
received  me  with  elaborate  politeness;  showed  me  hts  to\yn, 
barracoons,  and  stores,  and  even  stretched  a  point,  to  honor  me 
by  an  introduction  to  the  penetralia  of  his  harem.  The  visit 
paid,  he  insisted  that  I  should  dine  with  him ;  and  a  couple 
of  choice  bottles  were  quickly  disposed  of.  Ormond,  like 
myself,  had  been  a  sailor.  We  spoke  of  the  lands,  scenes,  and 
adventures,  each  had  passed  through,  while  a  fresh  bottle  was 
called  to  fillip  our  memories.  There  is  nothing  so  nourishing  to 
friendship  as  wine  !  Before  sundown  our  eleotrife  memories  had 
circled  the  globe,  and  our  intimacy  culminated. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  71 

While  the  rosy  fluid  operated  as  a  sedative  on  the  Mongo, 
and  glued  him  to  his  chair  in  a  comfortable  nap,  it  had  a  con- 
trary effect  on  my  exhilarated  nerves.  I  strolled  to  the  verandah 
to  get  a  breath  of  fresh  air  from  the  river,  but  soon  dashed  off 
in  the  darkness  to  the  sacred  precincts  of  the  harem  I  I  was 
not  detected  till  I  reached  nearly  the  centre  of  the  sanctuary 
where  Ormond  confined  his  motley  group  of  black,  mulatto,  and 
quarteroon  wives.  The  first  dame  who  perceived  me  was  a 
bright  mulatto,  with  rosy  cheeks,  sloe-like  eyes,  coquettish 
turban,  and  most  voluptuous  mouth,  whom  I  afterwards  dis- 
covered to  be  second  in  the  chief's  affections.  In  an  instant  the 
court  resounded  with  a  chattering  call  to  her  companions,  so  that, 
before  I  could  turn,  the  whole  band  of  gabbling  parrots  hemmed 
me  in  with  a  deluge  of  talk.  Fame  had  preceded  me  !  My 
sable  nurse  was  a  servant  of  the  harem,  and  her  visit  to  the 
schooner,  with  the  tale  of  the  tragedy,  supplied  anecdotes  for  a 
lifetime.  Every  body  was  on  the  qui  vive  to  see  the  "  white 
fighter."  Every  body  was  crazy  to  feel  the  *'  white  skin  "  she 
had  healed.  Then,  with  a  sudden,  childish  freak  of  caprice, 
they  ran  off  from  me  as  if  afraid,  and  at  once  rushed  back 
again  like  a  flock  of  glib-tongued  and  playful  monkeys.  I  could 
not  comprehend  a  word  they  said  ;  but  the  bevy  squealed  with 
quite  as  much  pleasure  as  if  I  did,  and  peered  into  my  eyes  for 
answers,  with  impish  devilry  at  my  wondering  ignorance. 

At  last,  my  sable  friends  seemed  not  only  anxious  to  amuse 
themselves  but  to  do  something  for  my  entertainment  also.  A 
chatter  in  a  corner  settled  what  it  should  be.  Two  or  three 
brought  sticks,  while  two  or  three  brought  coals.  A  fire  was 
quickly  kindled  in  the  centre  of  the  court ;  and  as  its  flames  lit 
up  the  area,  a  whirling  circle  of  half-stripped  girls  danced  to  the 
monotonous  beat  of  a  tom-tom.  Presently,  the  formal  ring  was 
broken,  and  each  female  stepping  out  singly,  danced  according  to 
her  individual  fancy.  Some  were  wild,  some  were  soft,  some 
were  tame,  and  some  were  fiery.  After  so  many  years  I  have  no 
distinct  recollection  of  the  characteristic  movements  of  these 
semi-savages,  especially  as  the  claret  and  champagne  rather 
fermented  in  my  brain,  and  possessed  me  with   the  idea  that  it 


72  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

was  my  duty  to  mingle  in  the  bounding  throng.  I  resolved  that 
the  barbarians  should  have  a  taste  of  Italian  quality  ! 

Accordingly,  I  leaped  from  the  hammock  where  I  had  swung 
idly  during  the  scene,  and,  beginning  with  a  balancez  and  an 
avant-deux^  terminated  my  terpsichorean  exhibition  by  a  regular 
"  double  shuffle  "  and  sailor's  hornpipe.  The  delirious  laughter, 
cracked  sides,  rollicking  fun,  and  outrageous  merriment,  with 
which  my  feats  were  received,  are  unimaginable  by  sober-sided 
people.  Tired  of  my  single  exhibition,  I  seized  the  prettiest  of 
the  group  by  her  slim,  shining  waist,  and  whirled  her  round  and 
round  the  court  in  the  quickest  of  waltzes,  until,  with  a  kiss,  I 
laid  her  giddy  and  panting  on  the  floor.  Then,  grasping  an- 
other,— another, — another, — and  another, — and  treating  each  to 
the  same  dizzy  swim,  I  was  about  waltzing  the  whole  seraglio 
into  quiescence,  when  who  should  rise  before  us  but  the  staring 
and  yawning  Mongo  ! 

The  apparition  sobered  me.  A  quarteroon  pet  of  Ormond, — 
just  spinning  into  fashionable  and  luscious  insensiblility, — fell 
from  my  arms  into  those  of  her  master ;  and  while  I  apologized 
for  the  freak,  I  charged  it  altogether  to  the  witchcraft  of  his  wit 
and  wine. 

"  Ha  !  "  said  the  Mongo,  "  St.  Vitus  is  in  your  Italian  heels 
the  moment  you  are  within  hail  of  music  and  dancing ;  and,  by 
Jove,  it  seems  you  can  scent  a  petticoat  as  readily  as  a  hound 
tracks  runaways.  But  there's  no  harm  in  dancing,  Don  Teo- 
dore ;  only  hereafter  I  hope  you  will  enjoy  the  amusement  in  a 
less  uproarious  manner.  In  Africa  we  are  fond  of  a  siesta  after 
dinner ;  and  I  recommend  you  to  get,  as  soon  as  possible,  under 
the  lee  of  another  bottle." 

We  retired  once  more  to  his  mahogany ;  and,  under  the  spell 
of  my  chieftain's  claret  and  sea-yarns,  I  was  soon  lapped  in  deli- 
cious sleep. 


Next  day  the  captain  of  the  Areostatico  drew  me  aside  con- 
fidentially, and  hinted  that  Ormond  had  taken  such  a  decided 
fancy  for  mc,  and  insi?iuated  so  warm  a  wish  for  my  continuance 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  73 

as  his  clerk  at  Bangalang,  that   he  thought    it  quite    a  duty, 
though  a  sad  one,  to  give  his  advice  on  the  subject. 

"  It  may  be  well  for  your  purse,  Don  Teodore,  to  stay  with 
so  powerful  a  trader ;  but  beside  the  improvement  of  your  for- 
tunes, there  are  doubts  whether  it  will  be  wholesome  for  you  to 
revisit  Havana,  at  least  at  present.  It  may  be  fcaid,  amigo  mioj 
that  you  commenced  the  warfare  on  board  the  schooner  ; — and  as 
five  men  were  slain  in  the  affray,  it  will  be  necessary  for  me  to 
report  the  fact  to  the  commanclante  as  soon  as  I  arrive.  Now 
it  is  true,  Jnjo  mio^  that  you  saved  the  vessel,  cargo,  specie,  and 
my  cousin ;  yet,  God  knows  what  may  be  the  result  of  Havana 
justice.  You  will  have  a  rigid  examination,  and  I  rather  think 
you  will  be  imprisoned  until  the  final  decision  is  made.  When 
that  consummation  shall  occur  is  quite  uncertain.  If  you  have 
friends,  they  will  be  bled  as  long  as  possible  before  you  get  out ; 
if  you  have  none,  no  one  will  take  pains  to  see  you  released  with- 
out recompense.  When  you  see  daylight  once  more,  the  rest  of 
these  ragamuffins  and  the  felon  friends  of  the  dead  men,  will  be- 
gin to  dog  your  steps,  and  make  Havana  uncomfortable  as  well 
as  dangerous  ;  so  that  I  have  no  hesitation  in  recommending  you 
to  stay  where  you  are,  and  take  tlie  doubloons  of  the  Mongo." 

I  thought  I  saw  at  a  glance  the  drift  of  this  hypocritical /«yi- 
faronade^  and  was  satisfied  he  only  desired  to  get  rid  of  me  in 
order  to  reinstate  the  chief  mate  in  a  situation  which  he  surely 
could  not  occupy  as  long  as  I  was  on  board.  As  I  meant  to  stay 
in  Africa,  I  told  him  at  once  that  I  grieved  because  he  had  not 
spoken  his  wishes  openly,  boldly,  and  honestly,  like  a  man,  but 
liad  masked  an  ungrateful  cowardice  by  hypocritical  solicitude 
for  my  welfare.  I  departed  abruptly  with  a  scowl  of  contempt ; 
and  as  he  hastened  to  hide  his  blanched  face  in  the  cabin,  t 
called  a  boat,  and  throwing  my  sea  chest,  bedding,  and  arms, 
aboard,  committed  my  fate  to  the  African  continent.  A  half- 
hour  turned  and  decided  my  fate  I 

Mr.  Ormond  received  me  very  cordially,  and,  installing  me 
in  my  new   secretaryship,  promised  a  private  establishment,  a 
seat  at  his  table,  and  a  negro  per  month, — or  its  value  at  the 
rate  of  forty  dollars, — for  my  servicea 
4 


74  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

When  the  runners  returned  from  the  interior  with  the  slaves 
required  to  complete  the  Areostatico's  cargo,  I  considered  it  my 
duty  to  the  Italian  grocer  of  Regla  to  dispatch  his  vessel  person- 
ally. Accordingly,  I  returned  on  board  to  aid  in  stowing  one 
hundred  and  eight  boys  and  girls,  the  eldest  of  whom  did  not 
exceed  fifteen  years !  As  I  crawled  between  decks,  I  confess  I 
could  not  imagine  how  this  little  army  was  to  be  packed  or  draw 
breath  in  a  hold  but  twenty  two  inches  high  !  Yet  the  experi- 
ment was  promptly  made,  inasmuch  as  it  was  necessary  to  secure 
them  below  in  descending  the  river,  in  order  to  prevent  their 
leaping  overboard  and  swimming  ashore.  I  found  it  impossible 
to  adjust  the  whole  in  a  sitting  posture ;  but  we  made  them  lie 
down  in  each  other's  laps,  like  sardines  in  a  can,  and  in  this  way 
obtained  space  for  the  entire  cargo.  Strange  to  tell,  when  the 
Areostatico  reached  Havana,  but  three  of  these  "  passengers  " 
had  paid  the  debt  of  nature. 

As  I  left  the  schooner  a  few  miles  outside  the  bar,  I  crossed 
her  side  without  an  adieu  save  for  the  English  cabin  boy,  whose 
fate  I  was  pained  to  intrust  to  these  stupid  Spaniards.  Indeed, 
the  youth  almost  belonged  to  me,  for  I  may  say  he  owed  his  life 
to  my  interference. 

Previous  to  the  voyage,  while  waiting  in  the  harbor  of  Ha- 
vana for  a  crew,  our  vessel  was  anchored  near  the  wharves,  next 
to  an  English  merchantman.  One  afternoon  I  heard  a  scream 
from  the  neighboring  craft,  and  perceived  a  boy  rush  from 
the  cabin  with  his  face  dyed  in  blood.  He  was  instantly  pursued 
by  a  burly  seaman,  inflicting  blows  with  his  fist.  I  implored  the 
brute  to  desist,  but  my  interference  seemed  to  augment  his  cho- 
ler  to  such  a  degree,  that  he  seized  a  handspike  to  knock  the 
stripling  down.  Upon  this  I  called  the  child  to  leap  overboard, 
at  the  same  time  commanding  a  hand  to  lower  my  boat  and  scull 
in  the  direction  of  his  fall.  The  boy  obeyed  my  voice ;  and  in  a 
few  minutes  I  had  him  on  board  blessing  me  for  his  safety.  But 
the  drunken  Briton  vented  his  rage  in  the  most  indecent  lan- 
guage ;  and  had  his  boat  been  aboard,  I  doubt  not  a  summary 
visit  would  have  terminated  in  a  fight  on  my  deck. 

However,  as  good  luck  would  have  it,  his   skifi"  was  at  the 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  75 

landing,  so  that  there  was  ample  time,  before  he  could  reach  the 
Areostatico,  to  tie  up  the  bruised  face  and  broken  rib  of  the 
child,  and  to  conceal  him  in  the  house  of  a  Spanish  crone  in 
Havana,  who  cured  the  maladies  of  credulous  seamen  by 
witchcraft ! 

After  nightfall  the  master  of  the  British  vessel  came  aboard 
to  claim  his  boy  ;  but  as  he  was  petulant  and  seemed  disposed  to 
carry  matters  with  a  high  hand,  my  temper  rose  in  resistance, 
and  I  refused  to  release  the  child  until  he  sealed  with  an  oath 
his  promise  to  treat  him  better  in  future.  But  the  cruel  scoun- 
drel insisted  on  unconditional  surrender ;  and  to  end  the  contro- 
versy, I  was  compelled  to  order  him  off  the  schooner. 

British  pluck  of  course  would  not  allow  a  captain  to  be  de- 
prived so  easily  of  his  property,  so  the  British  consul  was  in- 
voked to  appeal  to  the  captain  of  the  port.  This  personage  sum- 
moned me  before  him,  and  listened  calmly  to  a  story  which 
added  no  honor  to  English  mariners.  In  my  last  interview  with 
the  boy  he  implored  my  continued  protection  and  concealment ; 
so  that  when  the  Spanish  official  declared — notwithstanding  the 
officer's  conduct — that  the  vessel  was  entitled  to  her  crew,  and 
that  I  must  surrender  the  child,  I  excused  myself  from  comply- 
ing by  pleading  utter  ignorance  of  his  whereabout.  In  view  of 
this  contingency,  I  directed  the  woman  to  hide  him  in  a  place  of 
which  I  should  be  ignorant.  So  I  told  no  lie,  and  saved  the  boy 
from  his  tyrant. 

The  inquiry  was  dropped  at  this  stage  of  proceedings.  "When 
the  British  vessel  sailed  a  few  days  after,  I  caused  the  youth 
to  be  brought  from  his  concealment ;  and,  with  our  captain's 
consent,  brought  him  aboard  to  serve  in  our  cabin. 

I  have  narrated  this  little  episode  in  consequence  of  my  love 
for  the  boy,  and  because  lie  was  the  only  English  subject  I  ever 
knew  to  ship  in  a  slaver. 

I  requested  the  Areostatic's  owners  to  pay  him  liberally  for 
his  fidelity  when  he  got  back  to  Havana ;  and  I  was  happy  to 
learn  next  year,  that  they  not  only  complied  with  my  request, 
but  sent  him  home  to  his  friends  in  Liverpool. 


76  CAPTAIN  canot:  or. 


CHAPTER    VIII. 

When  I  got  back  to  Bangalang,  my  first  movement  was  to  take 
possession  of  the  quarters  assigned  me  by  the  Mongo,  and  to 
make  myself  as  comfortable  as  possible  in  a  land  whose  chief  re- 
quirements are  shade  and  shelter.  My  house,  built  of  cane  plas- 
tered with  mud,  consisted  of  two  earthen-floored  rooms  and  a 
broad  verandah.  The  thatched  roof  was  rather  leaky,  while  my 
furniture  comprised  two  arm-chests  covered  with  mats,  a  deal 
table,  a  bamboo  settle,  a  tin-pan  with  palm-oil  for  a  lamp,  and  a 
German  looking-glass  mounted  in  a  paper  frame.  I  augmented 
these  comforts  by  the  addition  of  a  trunk,  mattress,  hammock 
and  pair  of  blankets  ;  yet,  after  all  this  embellishment,  I  confess 
my  household  was  rather  a  sorry  aiFair. 

It  is  time  I  should  make  the  reader  acquainted  with  the  in- 
dividual who  was  the  presiding  genius  of  the  scene,  and,  in  some 
degree,  a  type  of  his  peculiar  class  in  Africa. 

Mr.  Ormond  was  the  son  of  an  opulent  slave-trader  from 
Liverpool,  and  owed  his  birth  to  the  daughter  of  a  native  chief 
on  the  Rio  Pongo.  His  father  seems  to  have  been  rather  proud 
of  his  mulatto  stripling,  and  dispatched  him  to  England  to  be 
educated.  But  Master  John  had  made  little  progress  in  belles- 
lettres,  when  news  of  the  trader's  death  was  brought  to  the 
British  agent,  who  refused  the  youth  further  supplies  of  money. 
The  poor  boy  soon  became  an  outcast  in  a  land  which  had  not 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  77 

yet  become  fashionably  addicted  to  philanthropy ;  and,  after 
drifting  about  awhile  in  England,  he  shipped  on  board  a  mer- 
chantman. The  press-gang  soon  got  possession  of  the  likely 
mulatto  for  the  service  of  his  Britannic  Majesty.  Sometimes  he 
played  the  part  of  dandy  waiter  in  the  cabin  ;  sometimes  he 
swung  a  hammock  with  the  hands  in  the  forecastle.  Thus,  five 
years  slipped  by,  during  which  the  wanderer  visited  most  of  the 
West  Indian  and  Mediterranean  stations. 

At  length  the  prolonged  cruise  was  terminated,  and  Ormond 
paid  off".  He  immediately  determined  to  employ  his  hoarded 
cash  in  a  voyage  to  Africa,  where  he  might  claim  his  father's 
property.  The  project  was  executed  ;  his  mother  was  still  found 
alive  ;  and,  fortunately  for  the  manly  youth,  she  recognized  him 
at  once  as  her  first  born. 

The  reader  will  recollect  that  these  things  occurred  on  the 
west  coast  of  Africa  in  the  early  part  of  the  present  century, 
and  that  the  tenure  of  property,  and  the  interests  of  foreign 
traders,  were  controlled  entirely  by  such  customary  laws  as  pre- 
vailed on  the  spot.  Accordingly,  a  "  grand  palaver  "  was  ap- 
pointed, and  all  Mr.  Ormond's  brothers,  sisters,  uncles,  and 
cousins, — many  of  whom  w^ere  in  possession  of  his  father's  slaves 
or  their  descendants, — were  summoned  to  attend.  The  "  talk  " 
took  place  at  the  appointed  time.  The  African  mother  stood 
forth  stanchly  to  assert  the  identity  and  rights  of  her  first-born, 
and,  in  the  end,  all  of  the  Liverpool  trader's  property,  in  houses, 
lands,  and  negroes,  that  could  be  ascertained,  was  handed  over, 
according  to  coast-law,  to  the  returned  heir. 

When  the  mulatto  youth  was  thus  suddenly  elevated  into 
comfort,  if  not  opulence,  in  his  own  country,  he  resolved  to  aug- 
ment his  wealth  by  pursuing  his  father's  business.  But  the 
whole  country  was  then  desolated  by  a  civil  war,  occasioned,  as 
most  of  them  are,  by  family  disputes,  which  it  was  necessary  to 
terminate  before  trade  could  be  comfortably  established. 

To  this  task  Ormond  steadfastly  devoted  his  first  year.  His 
efforts  were  seconded  by  the  opportune  death  of  one  of  the  war- 
ring chiefs.  A  tame  opponent, — a  brother  of  Ormond's  mother, 
— was  quickly  brought  to  terms  by  a  trifling  present ;  so  that  the 


78  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

sailor  boy  soon  concentrated  the  family  influence,  and  declared 
himself  "  Mongo,"  or,  Chief  of  the  River. 

Bangalang  had  long  been  a  noted  factory  among  the  English 
traders.  When  war  was  over,  Ormond  selected  this  post  as  his 
permanent  residence,  while  he  sent  runners  to  Sierra  Leone  and 
Goree  with  notice  that  he  would  shortly  be  prepared  with  ample 
cargoes.  Trade,  which  had  been  so  long  interrupted  by  hostili- 
ties, poured  from  the  interior.  Vessels  from  Goree  and  Sierra 
Leone  were  seen  in  the  offing,  responding  to  his  invitation.  His 
stores  were  packed  with  British,  French,  and  American  fabrics ; 
while  hides,  wax,  palm-oil,  ivory,  gold,  and  slaves,  were  the  na- 
tive products  for  which  Spaniards  and  Portuguese  hurried  to 
proffer  their  doubloons  and  bills. 

It  will  be  readily  conjectured  that  a  very  few  years  sufficed 
to  make  Jack  Ormond  not  only  a  wealthy  merchant,  but  a  popu- 
lar Mongo  among  the  great  interior  tribes  of  Foulahs  and  Man- 
dingoes.  The  petty  chiefs,  whose  territory  bordered  the  sea, 
flattered  him  with  the  title  of  king  ;  and,  knowing  his  Mormon 
taste^  stocked  his  harem  with  their  choicest  children  as  the  most 
valuable  tokens  of  friendship  and  fidelity. 

When  I  was  summoned  to  act  as  secretary  or  clerk  of  such  a 
personage,  I  saw  immediately  that  it  would  be  well  not  only  to 
understand  my  duties  promptly,  but  to  possess  a  clear  estimate 
of  the  property  I  wss  to  administer  and  account  for.  Ormond's 
easy  habits  satisfied  me  that  he  was  not  a  man  of  business  ori- 
ginally, or  had  become  sadly  negligent  under  the  debasing  in- 
fluence of  wealth  and  voluptuousness.  My  earliest  task,  there- 
fore, was  to  make  out  a  minute  inventory  of  his  possessions, 
while  I  kept  a  watchful  eye  on  his  stores,  never  allowing  any 
one  to  enter  them  unattended.  When  I  presented  this  document, 
which  exhibited  a  large  deficiency,  the  Mongo  received  it  with 
indifierence,  begging  me  not  to  "  annoy  him  with  accounts." 
His  manner  indicated  so  much  petulant  fretfulness,  that  I  au- 
gured from  it  the  conscious  decline  or  disorder  of  his  afi"airs. 

As  I  was  returning  to  the  warehouse  from  this  mortifying 
interview,  I  encountered  an  ancient  hag, — a  sort  of  superintend- 
ent Cerberus  or  manager  of  the  Mongo's  liarem^ — who,  by  signs, 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  79 

intimated  that  she  wanted  the  key  to  the  "  cloth-chest,"  whence 
she  immediately  helped  herself  to  several  fathoms  of  calico. 
The  crone  could  not  speak  English,  and,  as  I  did  not  understand 
the  Soosoo  dialect,  we  attempted  no  oral  argument  about  the 
propriety  of  her  conduct ;  but,  taking  a  pencil  and  paper,  and 
making  signs  that  she  should  go  to  the  Mongo,  who  would  write 
an  order  for  the  raiment,  I  led  her  quietly  to  the  door.  The 
wrath  of  the  virago  was  instantly  kindled,  while  her  horrid  face 
gleamed  with  that  devilish  ferocity,  which,  in  some  degree  is  lost 
by  Africans  who  dwell  on  our  continent.  During  the  reign  of 
my  predecessors,  it  seems  that  she  had  been  allowed  to  control 
the  store  keys,  and  to  help  herself  unstintedly.  I  knew  not,  of 
course,  what  she  said  on  this  occasion ;  but  the  violence  of  her 
gestures,  the  nervous  spasms  of  her  limbs,  the  flashing  of  her 
eyes,  the  scream  of  her  voluble  tongue,  gave  token  that  she 
swelled  with  a  rage  which  was  augmented  by  my  imperturbable 
quietness.  At  dinner,  I  apprised  Mr.  Ormond  of  the  negro's 
conduct ;  but  he  received  the  announcement  with  the  same  laugh 
of  indifference  that  greeted  the  account  of  his  deficient  in- 
ventory. 

That  night  I  had  just  stretched  myself  on  my  hard  pallet, 
and  was  revolving  the  difficulties  of  my  position  with  some  de- 
gree of  pain  at  my  forced  continuance  in  Africa,  when  my  ser- 
vant tapped  softly  at  the  door,  and  announced  that  some  one 
demanded  admittance,  but  begged  that  I  would  first  of  all  ex- 
tinguish the  light.  I  was  in  a  country  requiring  caution  ;  so  I 
felt  my  pistols  before  I  undid  the  latch.  It  was  a  bright,  star- 
light night ;  and,  as  I  opened  the  door  sufficiently  to  obtain  a 
glance  beyond, — still  maintaining  my  control  of  the  aperture, — 
I  perceived  the  figure  of  a  female,  wrapped  in  cotton  cloth  from 
head  to  foot,  except  the  face,  which  I  recollected  as  that  of  the 
beautiful  quarteroon  I  was  whirling  in  the  waltz,  when  sur- 
prised by  the  Mongo.  She  put  forth  her  hands  from  the  folds 
of  her  garment,  and  laying  one  softly  on  my  arm,  while  she 
touclied  her  lips  with  the  other,  looked  wistfully  behind,  and 
glided  into  my  apartment. 

This  poor  girl,  the  child  of  a  mulatto  mother  and  a  white 


80 

parent,  was  born  in  the  settlement  of  Sierra  Leone,  and  had 
acquired  our  language  with  much  more  fluency  than  is  common 
among  her  race.  It  was  said  that  her  father  had  been  originally 
a  missionary  from  Great  Britain,  but  abandoned  his  profession 
for  the  more  lucrative  traffic  in  slaves,  to  which  he  owed  an 
abundant  fortune.  It  is  probable  that  the  early  ecclesiastical 
turn  of  her  delinquent  progenitor  induced  him,  before  he  de- 
parted for  America,  to  bestow  on  his  child  the  biblical  name  of 
Esther. 

I  led  my  trembling  visitor  to  the  arm-chest,  and,  seating  her 
gently  by  my  side,  inquired  why  I  was  favored  by  so  stealthy  a 
visit  from  the  harem.  My  suspicions  were  aroused  ;  for,  though 
a  novice  in  Africa,  I  knew  enough  of  the  discipline  maintained  in 
these  slave  factories,  not  to  allow  my  fancy  to  seduce  me  with  the 
idea  that  her  visit  was  owing  to  mad-cap  sentimentality. 

The  manner  of  these  quarteroon  girls,  whose  complexion 
hardly  separates  them  from  our  own  race,  is  most  winningly  grace- 
ful;  and  Esther,  with  abated  breath,  timidly  asked  my  pardon  for 
intruding,  while  she  declared  I  had  made  so  bitter  an  enemy  of 
Ilnga-golah, — the  head-woman  of  the  seraglio. — that,  in  spite  of 
danger,  she  stole  to  my  quarters  with  a  warning.  Unga  swore 
revenge.  I  had  insulted  and  thwarted  her  ;  I  was  able  to  thwart 
her  at  all  times,  if  I  remained  the  Mongols  "  book-man ;  " — I 
must  soon  "  go  to  another  country ;  "  but,  if  I  did  not,  I  would 
quickly  find  the  food  of  Bangalang  excessively  unwholesome  ! 
"  Never  eat  any  thing  that  a  Mandingo  offers  you,"  said  Esther. 
*'  Take  your  meals  exlusively  from  the  Mongo's  table.  Unga- 
golah  knows  all  the  Mandingo  jii-jus^  and  she  will  have  no 
scruple  in  using  them  in  order  to  secure  once  more  the  control 
of  the  store  keys.     Good  night !  " 

"With  this  she  rose  to  depart,  begging  me  to  be  silent  about 
her  visit,  and  to  believe  that  a  poor  slave  could  feel  true  kindness 
for  a  white  man,  or  even  expose  herself  to  save  him. 

If  an  unruly  passion  had  tugged  at  my  heartstrings,  the  soft 
appeal,  the  liquid  tones,  the  tenderness  of  this  girl's  humanity, 
would  have  extinguished  it  in  an  instant.  It  was  the  first  time 
for  many  a  long  and  desolate  month  that  I  had  experienced  the 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  81 

gentle  touch  of  a  woman's  hand,  or  felt  the  interest  of  mortal 
solicitude  fall  like  a  refreshing  dew  upon  my  heart !  Who  will 
censure  me  for  halting  on  my  door-sill  as  I  led  her  forth,  retain- 
ing her  little  hand  in  mine,  while  I  cast  my  eyes  over  the  lithe 
symmetry  of  those  slender  and  rounded  limbs ;  while  I  feasted 
on  the  flushed  magnolia  of  those  beautiful  cheeks,  twined  my 
fingers  in  the  trailing  braids  of  that  raven  hair,  peered  into  the 
blackness  of  those  large  and  swimming  orbs,  felt  a  tear  trickle 
down  my  hardening  face,  and  left,  on  those  coral  lips,  the  print 
of  a  kiss  that  was  fuller  of  gratitude  than  passion  ! 

Nowadays  that  Mormonisra  is  grafting  a  ''  celestial  wifcry" 
upon  the  civilization  of  the  nineteenth  century,  I  do  not  think  it 
amiss  to  recall  the  memory  of  those  African  establishments  which 
formed  so  large  a  portion  of  a  trader's  homestead.  It  is  not  to 
be  supposed  that  the  luxurious  harem  of  Turkey  or  Egypt  was 
transferred  to  the  Guinea  coast,  or  that  its  lofty  walls  were  bar- 
ricaded by  stout  gates,  guarded  by  troops  of  sable  eunuchs.  The 
"  wifery "  of  my  employer  was  a  bare  inclosure,  formed  by  a 
quadrangular  cluster  of  mud-houses,  the  entrance  to  whose  court- 
yard was  never  watched  save  at  night.  Uuga-golah,  the  eldest 
and  least  delectable  of  the  dames,  maintained  the  establishment's 
police,  assigned  gifts  or  servants  to  each  female,  and  distributed 
her  master's  favors  according  to  the  bribes  she  was  cajoled  by. 

In  early  life  and  during  his  gorged  prosperity,  Ormond, — a 
stout,  burly,  black-eyed,  broad-shouldered,  short-necked  man, — 
ruled  his  harem  with  the  rigid  decorum  of  the  East.  But  as 
age  and  misfortunes  stole  over  the  sensual  voluptuary,  his  mental 
and  bodily  vigor  became  impaired,  not  only  by  excessive  drink, 
but  by  the  narcotics  to  which  he  habitually  resorted  for  excite- 
ment. When  I  became  acquainted  with  him,  his  face  and  figure 
bore  the  marks  of  a  worn-out  debauclie.  His  harem  now  was 
a  fashion  of  the  country  rather  than  a  domestic  resort.  His  wives 
ridiculed  him,  or  amused  themselves  as  they  pleased.  I  learned 
from  Esther  that  there  was  hardly  one  who  did  not  "  flirt  "  with 
a  lover  in  Bangalang,  and  that  Unga-golah  was  blinded  by  gifts, 
while  the  stupor  of  the  Mongo  was  perpetuated  by  liquor. 
4* 


82  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

It  may  be  supposed  that  in  such  a  seraglio,  and  with  such  a 
master,  there  were  but  few  matrimonial  jealousies  ;  still,  as  it 
would  be  difficult  to  find,  even  in  our  most  Christian  society,  two 
females  without  some  lurking  bitterness  towards  rivals,  so  it  is 
not  to  be  imagined  that  the  Mongo's  mansion  was  free  from 
w^omanly  quarrels.  These  disputes  chiefly  occurred  when  Or- 
mond  distributed  gifts  of  calico,  beads,  tobacco,  pipes  and  look- 
ing-glasses. If  the  slightest  preference  or  inequality  was  shown, 
adieu  to  order.  Unga-golah  descended  below  zero  !  The  favor- 
ite wife,  outraged  by  her  neglected  authority,  became  furious  ; 
and,  for  a  season,  pandemonium  was  let  loose  in  Bangalang. 

One  of  these  scenes  of  passion  occurs  to  me  as  I  write.  I 
was  in  the  store  with  the  Mongo  when  an  aggrieved  dame,  not 
remarkable  either  for  delicacy  of  complexion  or  sweetness  of 
odor,  entered  the  room,  and  marching  up  with  a  swagger  to  her 
master,  dashed  a  German  looking-glass  on  the  floor  at  his  feet. 
She  wanted  a  larger  one,  for  the  glass  bestowed  on  her  was  half 
an  inch  smaller  than  the  gifts  to  her  companions. 

When  Ormond  was  sober,  his  pride  commonly  restrained  him 
from  allowing  the  women  to  molest  his  leisure  ;  so  he  quietly 
turned  from  the  virago  and  ordered  her  out  of  the  store. 

But  my  lady  was  not  to  be  appeased  by  dignity  like*  this. 
"  Ha  !  "  shrieked  the  termagant,  as  she  wrenched  ofi"  her  hand- 
kerchief. *'  Ha  !  "  yelled  she,  tearing  off"  one  sleeve,  and  then 
the  other.  "  Ha  !  "  screamed  the  fiend,  kicking  a  shoe  into  one 
corner,  and  the  other  shoe  into  another  corner.  "  Ha  !  Mongo!" 
roared  the  beldame,  as  she  stripped  every  garment  from  her 
body  and  stood  absolutely  naked  before  us,  slapping  her  wool, 
cheeks,  forehead,  breasts,  arms,  stomach  and  limbs,  and  appeal- 
ing to  Ormond  to  say  where  she  was  deficient  in  charms,  that 
she  should  be  slighted  half  an  inch  on  a  looking-glass  ? 

As  the  Mongo  was  silent,  she  strode  up  to  me  for  an  opinion  ; 
but,  scarlet  with  blushes,  I  dived  behind  the  cloth-chest,  and 
left  the  laughing  Ormond  to  gratify  the  whim  of  the  "  model 
artiste  y 

Years  afterwards,  I  remember  seeing  an  infuriate  Ethiopian 
fling  her  infant  into  the  fire  because  its  white  father  preferred  the 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  83 

child  of  another  spouse.  Indeed,  I  was  glad  my  station  at  Bang- 
alang  did  not  make  it  needful  for  the  preservation  of  my  respect- 
ability that  I  should  indulge  in  the  luxury  of  African  matri- 
inony ! 

But  these  exhibitions  of  jealous  passion  were  not  excited 
alone  by  the  unequal  distribution  of  presents  from  the  liege  lord 
of  Bangalang.  I  have  observed  that  Ormond's  wives  took 
advantage  of  his  carelessness  and  age,  to  seek  congenial  compan- 
ionship outside  the  harem.  Sometimes  the  preference  of  two  of 
these  sable  be//es  alighted  on  the  same  lover,  and  then  the  battle 
was  transferred  from  a  worthless  looking  glass  to  the  darling 
beazi.  When  such  a  quarrel  arose,  a  meeting  between  the  rivals 
was  arranged  out  of  the  Mongo's  hearing ;  when,  throwing  off 
their  waist-cloths,  the  controversy  was  settled  between  the 
female  gladiators  without  much  damage.  But,  now  and  then, 
the  matter  was  not  left  to  the  ladies.  The  sable  lovers  them- 
selves took  up  the  conflict,  and  a  regular  challenge  passed  between 
the  gay  Othellos. 

At  the  appointed  time,  the  duellists  appeared  upon  "  the 
field  of  honor  "  accompanied  by  friends  who  were  to  witness  their 
victory  or  sympathize  in  their  defeat.  Each  stalwart  savage 
leaped  into  the  arena,  armed  with  a  cow-hide  cat,  whose  sharp 
and  triple  thongs  were  capable  of  inflicting  the  harshest  blows. 
They  stripped,  and  tossed  three  cowries  into  the  air  to  determine 
which  of  the  two  should  receive  the  first  lashing.  The  unfortu- 
nate loser  immediately  took  his  stand,  and  received,  with  the 
firmness  of  a  martyr,  the  allotted  number  of  blows.  Then  came 
the  turn  of  the  whipper,  who,  with  equal  constancy,  offered  his 
back  to  the  scourge  of  the  enraged  sufferer.  Thus  they  alter- 
nated until  one  gave  in,  or  until  the  bystanders  decreed  victory 
to  him  who  bore  the  punishment  longest  without  wincing.  The 
flayed  backs  of  these  "  chivalrous  men  of  Ijonor  "  were  ever  after 
displayed  in  token  of  bravery  ;  and,  doubtless,  their  Dulcineas 
devoted  to  their  healing  the  subtlest  ointment  and  tenderest 
affection  recognized  among  Africans. 


84 


CAPTAIN    CANOT;    OR, 


CHAPTER    IX. 

My  business  habits  and  sj-stematic  devotion  to  the  Mongo's  in- 
terests soon  made  me  fiimiliar  with  the  broad  features  of  '•  coun- 
try trade  ; "  but  as  I  was  still  unable  to  speak  the  coast  dialects, 
Mr.  Ormond — who  rarely  entered  the  warehouse  or  conversed 
about  commerce — supplied  an  adroit  interpreter,  who  stood 
beside  me  and  assisted  in  the  retail  of  foreign  merchandise,  for 
rice,  ivory,  palm-oil,  and  domestic  provisions.  The  purchase  of 
slaves  and  gold  was  conducted  exclusively  by  the  Mongo,  who 
did  not  consider  me  sufficiently  initiated  in  native  character  and 
tricks  to  receive  so  delicate  a  trust. 

Lono'  and  dreary  were  the  days  and  nights  of  the  apparently 
interminable  "wet  season."  Kain  in  a  city,  rain  in  the  coun- 
try, rain  in  a  village,  rain  at  sea,  are  sufficiently  wearying,  even 
to  those  whose  mental  activity  is  amused  or  occupied  by  books  or 
the  concerns  of  life  ;  but  who  can  comprehend  the  insufferable 
lassitude  and  despondency  that  overwhelm  an  African  resident, 
as  he  lies  on  his  mat-covered  armchest,  and  listens  to  the  endless 
deluge  pouring  for  da^s,  weeks,  months,  upon  bis  leaky  thatch  ? 

At  last,  however,  the  season  of  rain  passed  by,  and  the  "  dry 
season  "  set  in.  This  was  the  epoch  for  the  arrival  of  caravans 
from  the  interior  ;  so  that  we  were  not  surprised  when  our  run- 
ners appeared,  with  news  that  Ahmah-de-Bellah,  son  of  a  noted 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  85 

Fullali  chief,  was  about  to  visit  the  Rio  Pongo  with  an  imposing 
train  of  followers  and  merchandise.  The  only  means  of  commu- 
nication with  the  interior  of  Africa  are,  for  short  distances,  by 
rivers,  and,  for  longer  ones,  by  "  paths  "  or  "  trails "  leading 
through  the  dense  forest  and  among  the  hills,  to  innumerable 
"  towns  "  that  stud  this  prolific  land.  Stephenson  and  McAdam 
have  not  been  to  Africa,  and  there  are  neither  turnpikes  nor 
railways.  Now,  when  the  coast-traders  of  the  west  are  apprised 
that  caravans  are  threading  their  way  towards  the  Atlantic  shores, 
it  is  always  thought  advisable  to  make  suitable  preparations  for 
the  chiefs,  and  especially  to  greet  them  by  messages,  before  their 
arrival  at  the  beach.  Accordingly,  ^^  barkers  "  are  sent  forth  on  the 
forest  "  paths  "  to  welcome  the  visitors  with  gifts  of  tobacco  and 
powder.  "  Barkers  "  are  colored  gentlemen,  with  fluent  tongues 
and  flexible  consciences,  always  in  the  train  of  factories  on  the 
coast,  who  hasten  to  the  wilderness  at  the  first  signal  of  a  cara- 
van's approach,  and  magnify  the  prosperity  and  merchandise  of 
their  patrons  with  as  much  zeal  and  veracity  as  the  "  drummers" 
of  more  Christian  lands. 

A  few  days  after  our  band  of  travelling  agents  had  departed 
on  their  mission,  the  crack  of  firearms  was  heard  from  the  hills 
in  our  rear,  signifying  that  the  Mongols  "  barkers "  had  been 
successful  with  the  caravan  in  tow.  A  prompt  response  to  the 
joyous  signal  was  made  by  our  cannons ;  so  that,  after  half  an 
hour's  firing,  Ahmah-de-Bellah  and  his  party  emerged  from  the 
smoke,  marshalled  by  our  band  of  singers,  who  preceded  him, 
chanting  with  loud  voices  the  praise  of  the  youthful  chieftain. 
Behind  the  master  came  the  principal  traders  and  their  slaves 
laden  with  produce,  and  followed  by  forty  captive  negroes, 
secured  by  bamboo  withes.  Those  were  succeeded  by  three- 
score bullocks,  a  large  flock  of  sheep  or  goats,  and  the  females 
of  the  party  ;  while  the  procession  was  closed  by  the  demure 
tread  of  a  tame  and  stately  Ostrich  ! 

It  was  the  first  time  I  had  seen  so  odd  an  assemblage  of 
beasts  and  humanity.  Indeed,  had  the  troupe  been  accompanied 
by  a  bevy  of  ourang-outangs,  I  confess  I  might,  at  times,  have 
had  difiiculty  in  deciding  the  grade  of  animal  life  to  which  the 
object  in  front  of  me  belonged. 


86 

Mr.  Ormoiid,  when  put  upon  his  mettle,  was  one  of  the 
ablest  traders  in  Africa,  and  received  the  Mahometan  strangers 
with  becoming  state.  He  awaited  Ahmah-de-Bellah  and  his  com- 
mittee of  head-traders  on  the  piazza  of  his  receiving-house,  which 
was  a  rather  stately  edifice,  one  hundred  and  fifty  feet  in  length, 
built  to  be  fire-proof  for  the  protection  of  our  stores.  When 
each  Fullah  stranger  was  presented,  he  shook  hands  and 
''  snapped  fingers  "  with  the  Mongo  several  times  ;  and,  as  every 
petty  peddler  in  the  train  wanted  to  salaam  the  "  white  man  for 
good  luc-k,-'  the  process  of  presentation  occupied  at  least  an  hour. 

According  to  coast-custom,  as  soon  as  these  compliments  were 
over,  the  caravan's  merchandise  was  deposited  within  our  walls, 
not  only  for  security,  but  in  order  that  we  might  gauge  the  value 
of  the  u'clcome  the  owners  were  entitled  to  receive.  This  pre- 
caution, though  ungallant,  is  extremely  necessary,  inasmuch  as 
many  of  the  interior  dealers  were  in  the  habit  of  declaring,  on 
arrival,  the  value  of  their  gold  and  ivory  to  be  much  greater  than 
it  was  in  fact,  in  order  to  receive  a  more  liberal  "  present." 
Even  savages  instinctively  acquire  the  tricks  of  trade  ! 

When  the  goods  were  stored,  a  couple  of  fat  bullocks,  with 
an  abundant  supply  of  rice,  were  given  to  the  visitors,  and  the 
chiefs  of  the  caravan  were  billeted  upon  our  townspeople.  The 
canaille  built  temporary  huts  for  themselves  in  the  outskirts ; 
while  Ahmah-de-Bellah,  a  strict  Mahometan,  accompanied  by  two 
of  his  wives,  was  furnished  with  a  pair  of  neat  houses  that  had 
been  hastily  fitted  up  with  new  and  elegant  mats.* 

While  the  merchandise  of  these  large  caravans  is  unpaid  for, 
their  owners,  by  the  custom  of  the  country,  remain  a  costly  bur- 
den upon  the  factories.  We  were  naturally  anxious  to  be  free 
from  this  expense  as  soon  as  possible,  and  gave  notice  next  morn- 
ing that  "  trade  would  begin  forthwith."  Ahmah-de-Bellah,  the 
chiefs  of  the  caravans,  and  Mr.  Ormond,  at  once  entered  into 
negotiations,  so  that  by  nightfall  a  bargain  had  been  struck,  not 

*  As  it  may  be  interesting  to  learn  the  nature  of  trade  on  this  coast, — 
which  is  commonly  misunderstood  as  consisting  in  slaves  alone, — I  thought  it 
well  to  set  down  the  inventory  T  made  out  of  the  caravan's  stock  and  its 
result,  as  the  various  items  were  intrusted  to  ray  guardianship.     The  body 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  87 

only  for  their  presents,  but  for  the  price  of  merchandise,  and  the 
percentage  to  be  retained  as  "  native  duty."  Such  a  preliminary 
liquidation  with  the  heads  of  a  caravan  is  ever  indispensable,  for, 
without  their  assistance,  it  would  be  out  of  the  question  to  traf- 
fic with  the  ragamuffins  who  hang  on  the  skirts  of  opulent  chief- 
tains. 

of  the  caravan  itself  consisted  of  seven  hundred  persons,  principally  men; 
while  the  produce  was  as  follows  : 

3,500  hides $1,750 

19  laige  aud  prime  teeth  of  ivory,        .         .         .  1,560 

Gold,    . 2,500 

600  pounds  small  ivory, 320 

15  tons  of  rice, 600 

40  slaves, 1,600 

36  bullocks, 360 

Sheep,  goats,  butter,  vegetables,                .         .  100 

900  pounds  bees-wax,           .....  95 

Total  value  of  the  caravan's  merchandise,         .         .    $8,885. 

Oiu-  profits  on  this  speculation  were  very  flattering,  both  as  regards 
sales  and  acquisitions.  Rice  cost  us  one  cent  per  pound  ;  hides  were  de- 
livered at  eighteen  or  twenty  cents  each;  a  bullock  was  sold  for  twenty 
or  thirty  pounds  of  tobacco;  sheep,  goats  or  hogs,  cost  two  pounds  of  to- 
bacco, or  a  fathom  of  common  cotton,  each;  ivory  was  purchased  at  the 
rate  of  a  dollar  the  pound  for  the  best,  while  inferior  kinds  were  given  at 
half  that  price.  In  fact,  the  profit  on  our  merchandise  was,  at  least,  one 
hundred  and  fifty  per  cent.  As  gold  commands  the  very  best  fabrics  iu 
exchange,  and  was  paid  for  at  the  rate  of  sixteen  dollars  an  ounce,  we 
made  but  seventy  per  cent,  on  the  article.  The  slaves  were  delivered  at 
the  rate  of  one  hundred  "  bars"  each.  The  "  bar'^  is  valued  on  the  coast 
at  half  a  dollar;  but  a  pound  and  a  half  of  tobacco  is  also  a  "bar,"  as 
well  as  a  fathom  of  ordinary  cotton  cloth,  or  a  pound  of  powder,  while  a 
common  musket  is  equal  to  twelve  "  bars."  Accordingly,  where  slaves 
were  purchased  for  one  hundred  and  fifty  pounds  of  tobacco,  only  eighteen 
dollars  were,  in  reality,  paid;  and  when  one  hundred  pounds  of  powder 
were  given,  we  got  them  for  twenty  dollars  each.  Our  British  muskets 
cost  us  but  three  dollars  a-piece ;  yet  we  seldom  purchased  negroes  for 
this  article  alone.  If  the  women,  offered  in  the  market,  exceeded  twenty- 
five  years  of  age,  we  made  a  deduction  of  twenty  per  cent.  ;  but  if  they 
were  stanehly-built,  and  gave  promising  tokens  for  the  future,  we  took 
them  at  the  price  of  an  able-bodied  man.  The  same  estimate  was  made 
for  youths  over  four  feet  four  inches  high  ;  but  children  were  rarely  pur- 
chased at  the  factories,  though  they  might  be  advantageously  traded  in 
the  native  towns. 


88  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

Each  morning,  at  daylight,  a  crier  went  through  the  town, 
announcing  the  character  of  the  specific  trade  which  would  be 
carried  on  during  hours  of  business.  One  day  it  was  in  hides  ; 
another,  rice  ;  another,  cattle.  When  these  were  disposed  of,  a 
time  was  specially  appointed  for  the  exchange  of  gold,  ivory  and 
slaves  ;  and,  at  the  agreed  hour,  Mr.  Ormond,  Ahmah-de  bellah, 
and  myself,  locked  the  doors  of  the  warehouse,  and  traded 
through  a  window,  while  our  "  barkers  "  distributed  the  goods 
to  the  Africans,  often  using  their  whips  to  keep  the  chattering 
and  disputatious  scamps  in  order.  Ahmah-de-bellah  pretended 
to  inspect  the  measurement  of  cloth,  powder  and  tobacco,  to  in- 
sure justice  to  his  compatriots;  but,  in  reality,  like  a  true  tax- 
gatherer,  he  was  busy  ascertaining  his  lawful  percentage  on  the 
sale,  in  return  for  the  protection  from  robbery  he  gave  the  petty 
traders  on  their  pilgrimage  to  the  coast. 

At  length  the  market  was  cleared  of  sellers  and  merchandise 
— except  the  ostrich,  which,  when  all  was  over,  reached  the  Mon- 
gols hands  as  a  royal  gift  from  the  Ali-mami  of  Footha  Yallon, 
the  pious  father  of  Ahmah-de-Bellah.  The  bird,  it  is  true,  was 
presented  as  a  free  ofiering ;  yet  it  was  hinted  that  the  worthy 
Ali  stood  in  need  of  reliable  muskets,  which  his  son  would  take 
charge  of  on  the  journey  home.  As  twenty  of  those  warlike  in- 
struments were  dispatched  by  Ahmah-de-Bellah,  the  ostrich  be- 
came rather  a  costly  as  well  as  characteristic  gift.  Each  of  the 
traders,  moreover,  expected  a  "  bungee  "  or  "  dash "  of  some 
sort,  in  token  of  good  will,  and  in  proportion  to  his  sales  ;  so  that 
we  hastened  to  comply  with  all  the  common-law  customs  of  the 
country,  in  order  to  liberate  Bangalang  from  the  annoying 
crowd.  They  dropped  off  rapidly  as  they  were  paid  ;  and  in  a 
short  time  Ahmah-de-Bellah,  his  wives,  and  immediate  followers, 
were  all  that  remained  of  the  seven  hundred  Fullahs. 

Ahmah-de-Bellah  was  a  fine  specimen  of  what  may  be  con- 
sidered "Young  Africa,"  though  he  can  hardly  be  classed  among 
the  progressives  or  revolutionary  propaga'ndists  of  the  age.  In 
person  he  was  tall,  graceful,  and  commanding.  As  the  son  of 
an  important  chief,  he  had  been  free  from  those  menial  toils 
which,  in  that  climate,  soon  obliterate  all  intellectual  character- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  89 

istics.  His  face  was  well  formed  for  an  African's.  His  high 
and  broad  brow  arched  over  a  straight  nose,  while  his  lips  had 
nothing  of  that  vulgar  grossness  which  gives  so  sensual  an  expres- 
sion to  his  countrymen.  Ahmah's  manners  to  strangers  or  supe- 
riors were  refined  and  courteous  in  a  remarkable  degree ;  but  to 
the  mob  of  the  coast  and  inferiors  generally,  he  manifested  that 
harsh  and  peremptory  tone  which  is  common  among  the  savages 
of  a  fiery  clime. 

Ahmah-de-Bellah  was  second  son  of  the  Ali-mami,  or  King 
of  Footha-Yallon,  who  allowed  him  to  exercise  the  prerogative 
of  leading  for  the  first  time,  a  caravan  to  the  seaboard,  in  honor 
of  attaining  the  discreet  age  of  "  twenty  four  rainy  seasons." 
The  privilege  however,  was  not  granted  without  a  view  to  profit 
by  the  courage  of  his  own  blood  ;  for  the  Ali-mami  was  never 
known  to  suffer  a  son  or  relative  to  depart  from  his  jurisdiction 
without  a  promise  of  half  the  products  of  the  lucrative  enter- 
prise. 

The  formation  of  a  caravan,  when  the  king's  permission  has 
been  finally  secured,  is  a  work  of  time  and  skill.  At  the  begin- 
ning of  the  "  dry  season,"  the  privileged  chieftain  departs  with 
power  of  life  and  death  over  his  followers,  and  "  squats  "  in  one 
of  the  most  frequented  "  paths  "  to  the  sea,  while  he  dispatches 
small  bands  of  daring  retainers  to  other  trails  throughout  the 
neighborhood,  to  blockade  every  passage  to  the  beach.  The  siege 
of  the  highways  is  kept  up  with  vigor  for  a  month  or  more,  by 
these  black  Rob  Roys  and  Robin  Hoods,  until  a  sufiicient  number 
of  traders  may  be  trapped  to  constitute  a  valuable  caravan,  and  give 
importance  to  its  leader.  While  this  is  the  main  purpose  of  the 
forest-adventure,  the  occasion  is  taken  advantage  of  to  collect  a 
local  tribute,  due  by  small  tribes  to  the  Ali,  which  could  not  be 
obtained  otherwise.  The  despotic  officer,  moreover,  avails  him- 
self of  the  blockade  to  stop  malefactors  and  absconding  debtors. 
Goods  that  are  seized  in  the  possession  of  the  latter  may  be  se- 
questrated to  pay  his  creditors  ;  but  if  their  value  is  not  equal 
to  the  debt,  the  delinquent,  if  a  pagan,  is  sold  as  a  slave,  but  is 
let  off  with  a  bastinado^  if  he  proves  to  be  '*  one  of  the  faith- 
ful." 


90  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ',    OR, 

It  is  natural  to  suppose  that  every  effort  is  made  by  the 
small  traders  of  the  interior  to  avoid  these  savage  press-gangs. 
The  poor  wretches  are  not  only  subjected  to  annoying  vassalage 
by  ruffian  princes,  but  the  blockade  of  the  forest  often  diverts 
them  from  the  point  they  originally  designed  to  reach, — forces 
them  to  towns  or  factories  they  had  no  intention  of  visiting, — 
and,  by  extreme  delay,  wastes  their  provisions  and  diminishes 
their  frugal  profits.  It  is  surprising  to  see  how  admirably  even 
savages  understand  and  exercise  the  powers  of  sovereignty  and 
the  rights  of  transit ! 

While  Ahmah-de-Bellah  tarried  at  Bangalang,  it  was  my  habit 
to  visit  him  every  night  to  hear  his  interesting  chat,  as  it  was 
translated  by  an  interpreter.  Sometimes,  in  return,  I  would 
recount  the  adventures  of  my  sea-faring  life,  which  seemed  to 
have  a  peculiar  flavor  for  this  child  of  the  wilderness,  who  now 
gazed  for  the  first  time  on  the  ocean.  Among  other  things,  I 
strove  to  convince  him  of  the  world's  rotundity  ;  but,  to  the  last, 
he  smiled  incredulously  at  my  daring  assertion,  and  closed  the 
argument  by  asking  me  to  prove  it  from  the  Koran  ?  He  al- 
lowed me  the  honors  due  a  traveller  and  ''  book-man  ; "  but  a 
mind  that  had  swallowed,  digested,  and  remembered  every  text 
of  Mahomet's  volume,  was  not  to  be  deceived  by  such  idle  fanta- 
sies. He  kindly  undertook  to  conquer  ray  ignorance  of  his  creed 
by  a  careful  exposition  of  its  mysteries  in  several  long-winded 
lectures,  and  I  was  so  patient  a  listener,  that  I  believe  Ahmah 
was  entirely  satisfied  of  my  conversion. 

My  seeming  acquiescence  was  well  repaid  by  the  FuUah's 
confidence.  He  returned  my  nightly  calls  with  interest ;  and, 
visiting  me  in  the  warehouse  during  hours  of  business,  became 
so  fervently  wrapped  up  in  my  spiritual  salvation,  that  he  would 
spout  Mahometanism  for  hours  through  an  interpreter.  To 
get  rid  of  him,  one  day,  I  promised  to  follow  the  Prophet 
with  pleasure  if  he  consented  to  receive  mc ;  but  I  insisted  on 
entering  the  "  fold  of  the  faithful "  witliout  submitting  to  the 
peculiar  rite  of  Mussulman  baptism  ! 

Ahmah-de-Bellah  took  the  jest  kindly,  laughing  like  a  good 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  91 

fellow,  and  from  that  day  forward,  we  were  sworn  cronies.  The 
Fullah  at  once  wrote  down  a  favorite  prayer  in  Arabic,  requiring 
as  my  spiritual  guide,  that  I  should  commit  it  to  memory  for 
constant  and  ready  use.  After  a  day  or  two,  he  examined  me 
in  the  ritual ;  but,  finding  I  was  at  fault  after  the  first  sentence, 
reproached  me  pathetically  upon  my  negligence  and  exhorted 
me  to  repentance, — much  to  the  edification  of  our  interpreter, 
who  was  neither  Jew,  Christian,  nor  Mussulman. 

But  the  visit  of  the  young  chieftain,  which  began  in  trade 
and  tapered  off  in  piety,  drew  to  a  close.  Ahmah-de-Bellah 
began  to  prepare  for  his  journey  homeward.  As  the  day  of  de- 
parture approached,  I  saw  that  my  joke  had  been  taken  seriously 
by  the  Fullah,  and  that  he  relied  upon  my  apostasy.  At  the 
last  moment,  Ahmah  tried  to  put  me  to  a  severe  test,  by 
suddenly  pro'ducing  the  holy  book,  and  requiring  me  to  seal  our 
friendsliip  by  an  oath  that  I  would  never  abandon  Islamism.  I 
contrived,  however,  adroitly  to  evade  the  affirmation  by  feigning 
an  excessive  anxiety  to  acquire  more  profound  knowledge  of  the 
Koran,  before  I  made  so  solemn  a  pledge. 

It  came  to  pass  that,  out  of  the  forty  slaves  brought  in  the 
caravan,  the  Mougo  rejected  eight.  After  some  altercation, 
Ahmah-de-Bellah  consented  to  discard  seven  ;  but  he  insisted 
that  the  remaining  veteran  should  be  shipped,  as  he  could  neither 
kill  nor  send  him  back  to  Footha  Yallon. 

I  was  somewhat  curious  to  know  the  crime  this  culprit  had 
committed,  v/hich  was  so  heinous  as  to  demand  his  perpetual 
exile,  though  it  spared  his  life.  The  chief  informed  me  that  the 
wretch  had  slain  his  son  ;  and,  as  there  was  no  punishment  for 
such  an  offence  assigned  by  the  Koran,  the  judges  of  his  coun- 
try condemned  him  to  be  sold  a  slave  to  Christians^ — a  penalty 
they  considered  worse  than  death. 

Another  curious  feature  of  African  law  was  developed  in  the 
sale  of  this  caravan.  I  noticed  a  couple  of  women  drawn  along 
with  ropes  around  their  necks,  while  others  of  their  sex  and  class 
were  suffered  to  wander  about  without  bonds.  These  females, 
the  chief  apprised  us,  would   have  been  burnt  in  his  father's  do- 


92  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

mains  for  witchcraft,  had  not  his  venerable  ancestor  been  so 
much  distressed  for  powder  that  he  tliought  their  lives  would  be 
more  valuable  to  his  treasury  than  their  carcasses  to  outraged 
law. 

It  was  a  general  complaint  among  the  companions  of  Ahmah- 
de-Bellah  that  the  caravan  was  scant  of  slaves  in  consequence  of 
this  unfortunate  lack  of  powder.  The  young  chieftain  promised 
better  things  in  future.  Next  year,  the  Mongo's  barracoons 
should  teem  with  his  conquests.  When  the  "  rainy  season " 
approached,  the  Ali-mami,  his  father,  meant  to  carry  on  a 
"  great  war  "  against  a  variety  of  small  tribes,  whose  captives 
would  replenish  the  herds,  that,  two  years  before,  had  been  car- 
ried ofif  by  a  sudden  blight 

I  learned  from  my  intelligent  Fullah,  that  while  the  Mahom- 
etan courts  of  his  country  rescued  by  law  the  people  of  their 
own  faith  from  slavery,  they  omitted  no  occasion  to  inflict  it,  as 
a  penalty,  upon  the  African  "  unbelievers  "  who  fell  within  their 
jurisdiction.  Among  these  unfortunates,  the  smallest  crime  is 
considered  capital,  and  a  "  capital  crime  "  merits  the  profitable 
punishment  of  slavery.  Nor  was  it  difficult,  he  told  me,  for  a 
country  of  "  true  believers  "  to  acquire  a  multitude  of  bondsmen. 
They  detested  the  institution,  it  is  true,  among  themselves,  and 
among  their  own  caste,  but  it  was  both  right  and  reputable 
among  the  unorthodox.  The  Koran  commanded  the  "  subjuga- 
tion of  the  tribes  to  the  true  faith,"  so  that,  to  enforce  the  Pro- 
phet's order  against  infidels,  they  resorted  to  the  white  man's 
cupidity,  which  authorized  its  votaries  to  enslave  the  negro  !  IMy 
inquisitiveness  prompted  me  to  demand  whether  these  holy  wars 
spoken  of  in  the  Koran  were  not  somewhat  stimulated,  in  our 
time,  at  least,  by  the  profits  that  ensued  ;  and  I  even  ventured 
to  hint  that  it  was  questionable  whether  the  mighty  chief  of 
Footha-Yallon  would  willingly  storm  a  Kaffir  fortification,  were 
he  not  prompted  by  the  booty  of  slaves  ! 

Ahmah-de-Bellah  was  silent  for  a  minute,  when  his  solemn 
face  gradually  relaxed  into  a  quizzical  smile,  as  he  replied  that, 
in  truth,  Mahometans  were  no  worse  than  Christians,  so  that  it 
was  quite  likely, — if  the  white  elect  of  heaven,  who  knew  how  to 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  93 

make  powder  and  guns,  did  not  tempt  the  black  man  with  their 
weapons, — the  commands  of  Allah  would  be  followed  with  less 
zeal,  and  implements  not  quite  so  dangerous  ! 

I  could  not  help  thinking  that  there  was  a  good  deal  of  quiet 
satire  in  the  gossip  of  this  negro  prince.  According  to  the  cus- 
tom of  his  country,  we  "  exchanged  names  "  at  parting ;  and, 
while  he  put  in  my  pocket  the  gift  of  a  well-thumbed  Koran,  I 
slung  over  his  shoulder  a  double-barrelled  gun.  We  walked  side 
by  side  for  some  miles  into  the  forest,  as  he  went  forth  from 
Bangalang ;  and  as  we  "  cracked  fingers  "  for  farewell,  I  prom- 
ised, with  my  hand  on  my  heart,  that  the  "  next  dry  season  "  I 
would  visit  his  father,  the  venerable  Ali-mami,  in  his  realm  of 
Footha-Yallon. 


94 


CHAPTER    X. 

I  WAS  a  close  watcher  of  Mongo  John  whenever  he  engaged  in 
the  purchase  of  slaves.  As  each  negro  was  brought  before  him, 
Ormond  examined  the  subject,  without  regard  to  sex,  from  head 
to  foot.  A.  careful  manipulation  of  the  chief  muscles,  joints, 
arm-pits  and  groins  was  made,  to  assure  soundness.  The  mouth, 
too,  was  inspected,  and  if  a  tooth  was  missing,  it  was  noted  as  a 
defect  liable  to  deduction.  Eyes,  voice,  lungs,  fingers  and  toes 
were  not  forgotten  ;  so  that  when  the  negro  passed  from  the 
Mongo's  hands  without  censure,  he  might  have  been  readily 
adopted  as  a  good  "  life  "  by  an  insurance  company. 

Upon  one  occasion,  to  my  great  astonishment,  I  saw  a  stout 
and  apparently  powerful  man  discarded  by  Ormond  as  utterly 
worthless.  His  full  muscles  and  sleek  skin,  to  my  unpractised 
eye,  denoted  the  height  of  robust  health.  Still,  I  was  told  that 
he  had  been  medicated  for  the  market  with  bloating  drugs,  and 
sweated  with  powder  and  lemon  juice  to  impart  a  gloss  to  his 
skin.  Ormond  remarked  that  these  jockey-tricks  are  as  common 
in  Africa  as  among  horse-dealers  in  Christian  lands  ;  and  desir- 
ing me  to  feel  the  negro's  pulse,  I  immediately  detected  disease 
or  excessive  excitement.  In  a  few  days  I  found  the  poor  wretch, 
abandoned  by  his  owner,  a  paralyzed  wreck  in  the  hut  of  a  vil- 
lager at  Bangalang. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  95 

When  a  slave  becomes  useless  to  his  master  in  the  interior, 
or  exhibits  signs  of  failing  constitution,  he  is  soon  disposed  of  to 
a  peddler  or  broker.  These  men  call  to  their  aid  a  quack,  familiar 
with  drugs,  who,  for  a  small  compensation,  undertakes  to  refit  an 
impaired  body  for  the  temptation  of  green-horns.  Sometimes 
the  cheat  is  successfully  effected  ;  but  experienced  slavers  detect 
it  readily  by  the  yellow  eye,  swollen  tongue,  and  feverish  skin. 

After  a  few  more  lessons,  I  was  considered  by  the  Mongo 
sufficiently  learned  in  the  slave  traffic  to  be  intrusted  with  the 
sole  management  of  his  stores.  This  exemption  from  commerce 
enabled  him  to  indulge  more  than  ever  in  the  use  of  ardent 
spirits,  though  his  vanity  to  be  called  "  king,"  still  prompted 
him  to  attend  faithfully  to  all  the  "  country  palavers  ;  " — and, 
let  it  be  said  to  his  credit,  his  decisions  were  never  defective  in 
judgment  or  impartiality. 

After  I  had  been  three  months  occupied  in  the  multifarious 
intercourse  of  Bangalang  and  its  neighborhood,  I  understood  the 
language  well  enough  to  dispense  with  the  interpreter,  who  was 
one  of  the  Mongo's  confidential  agents.  When  my  companion 
departed  on  a  long  journey,  he  counselled  me  to  make  up  with 
Unga-golah,  the  hareiii's  cerberus,  as  she  suspected  my  intimacy 
with  Esther,  who  would  doubtless  be  denounced  to  Ormond, 
unless  I  purchased  the  beldame's  silence. 

Indeed,  ever  since  the  night  of  warning,  when  the  beautiful 
quarteroon  visited  my  hovel,  I  had  contrived  to  meet  this  charm- 
ing girl,  as  the  only  solace  of  my  solitude.  Amid  all  the  wild, 
passionate,  and  savage  surroundings  of  Bangalang,  Esther — the 
Pariah — was  the  only  golden  link  that  still  seemed  to  bind  me 
to  humanity  and  the  lands  beyond  the  seas.  On  that  burning 
coast,  I  was  not  excited  by  the  stirring  of  an  adventurous  life, 
nor  was  my  young  heart  seduced  and  bewildered  by  absorbing 
avarice.  Many  a  night,  when  the  dews  penetrated  my  flesh,  as 
I  looked  towards  the  west,  my  soul  shrank  from  the  selfish 
wretches  around  me,  and  went  off  in  dreams  to  the  homes  I  had 
abandoned.  When  I  came  back  to  myself, — when  I  was  forced 
to  recognize  my  doom  in  Africa, — when  1  acknowledged  that  my 
lot  had  been  cast,  perhaps  unwisely,  by  myself,  my  spirit  turned, 


96  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

like  the  worm  from  the  crushing  heel,  and  found  nothing  that 
kindled  for  me  with  the  light  of  human  sympathy,  save  this  out- 
cast girl.  Esther  was  to  me  as  a  sister,  and  when  the  hint  of 
her  harm  or  loss  was  given,  I  hastened  to  disarm  the  only  hand 
that  could  inflict  a  blow\  Unga-golah  was  a  woman,  and  a  rope 
of  sparkling  coral  for  her  neck,  smothered  all  her  wrongs. 

The  months  I  had  passed  in  Africa  without  illness, — though 
I  went  abroad  after  dark,  and  bathed  in  the  river  during  the  heat 
of  the  day, — made  me  believe  myself  proof  against  malaria. 
But,  at  length,  a  violent  pain  in  my  loins,  accompanied  by  a 
swimming  head,  warned  me  that  the  African  fever  held  me  in  its 
dreaded  gripe.  In  two  days  I  was  delirious.  Ormond  visited 
me  ;  but  I  knew  him  not,  and  in  my  madness,  called  on  Esther, 
accompanying  the  name  with  terms  of  endearment.  This,  I  was 
told,  stirred  the  surprise  and  jealousy  of  the  Mongo,  who  forth- 
with assailed  the  matron  of  his  harem  with  a  torrent  of  inquiries 
and  abuse.  But  Unga-golah  was  faithful.  The  beads  had  sealed 
her  tongue  ;  so  that,  with  the  instinctive  adroitness  peculiar  to 
ladies  of  her  color,  she  fabricated  a  story  which  not  only  quieted 
the  Mongo,  but  added  lustre  to  Esther's  character. 

The  credulous  old  man  finding  Unga  so  well  disposed  towards 
his  watchful  clerk,  restored  the  warehouse  to  her  custody.  This 
was  the  height  of  her  avaricious  ambition  ;  and,  in  token  of 
gratitude  for  my  profitable  malady,  she  contrived  to  let  Esther 
become  the  nurse  and  guardian  of  my  sick  bed. 

As  my  fever  and  delirium  continued,  a  native  doctor,  re- 
nowned for  his  skill,  was  summoned,  who  ordered  me  to  be 
cupped  in  the  African  fashion  by  scarifying  my  back  and  stom- 
ach with  a  hot  knife,  and  applying  plaintain  leaves  to  the  wounds. 
The  operation  allayed  my  pulse  for  a  few  hours ;  but  as  the 
fever  came  back  with  new  vigor,  it  became  necessary  for  my 
attendants  to  arouse  the  Mongo  to  a  sense  of  my  imminent  dan- 
ger. Yet  Ormond,  instead  of  springing  with  alacrity  to  succor 
a  friend  and  retainer  in  affliction,  sent  for  a  young  man,  named 
Edward  Joseph,  who  had  formerly  been  in  his  employment^  but 
was  now  settled  on  his  own  account  in  Bangalang. 

Joseph  proved  a  good  Samaritan.     As  soon  as  he  dared  ven- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  97 

ture  upon  my  removal,  he  took  me  to  his  establishment  at  Kam- 
bia,  and  engaged  the  services  of  another  Mandingo  doctor,  in 
whose  absurdities  he  believed.  But  all  the  charms  and  incanta- 
tions of  the  savage  would  not  avail,  and  I  remained  in  a  state  of 
utter  prostration  and  apparent  insensibility  until  morning.  As 
soon  as  day  dawned,  my  faithful  Esther  was  again  on  the  field 
of  action  ;  and  this  time  she  insisted  upon  the  trial  of  her  judg- 
ment, in  the  person  of  an  old  white-headed  woman,  who  accom- 
panied her  in  the  guise  of  the  greatest  enchantress  of  the  coast. 
A  slave,  paid  in  advance,  was  the  fee  for  which  she  undertook  to 
warrant  my  cure. 

No  time  was  to  be  lost.  The  floor  of  a  small  and  close  mud 
hut  was  intensely  heated,  and  thickly  strewn  with  moistened 
lemon  leaves,  over  which  a  cloth  was  spread  for  a  couch.  As 
soon  as  the  bed  was  ready,  I  was  borne  to  the  hovel,  and,  covered 
with  blankets,  was  allowed  to  steam  and  perspire,  while  my  med- 
ical attendant  dosed  me  with  half  a  tumbler  of  a  green  disgusting 
juice  which  she  extracted  from  herbs.  This  process  of  drink- 
ing and  barbecuing  was  repeated  during  five  consecutive  days, 
at  he  end  of  which  my  fever  was  gone.  But  my  convalescence 
was  not  speedy.  For  many  a  day,  I  stalked  about,  a  useless 
skeleton,  quivering  with  ague,  and  afflicted  by  an  insatiable  appe- 
tite, until  a  French  physician  restored  me  to  health  by  the  use 
of  cold  baths  at  the  crisis  of  my  fever. 

When  I  was  sufliciently  recovered  to  attend  to  business 
Mongo  John  desired  me  to  resume  my  position  in  his  employ 
ment.  I  heard,  however,  from  Esther,  that  during  my  illness 
Unga-golah  used  her  opportunities  so  profitably  in  the  ware 
house,  that  there  would  be  sad  deficiencies,  which,  doubtless 
might  be  thrown  on  me,  if  the  crone  were  badly  disposed  at  any- 
future  period.  Accordingly,  I  thought  it  decidedly  most  prudent 
to  decline  the  clerkship,  and  requested  the  Mongo  to  recompense 
me  for  the  time  and  attention  I  had  already  bestowed  on  him. 
This  was  refused  by  the  indolent  voluptuary ;  so  we  parted  with 
coolness,  and  I  was  onoe  more  adrift  in  the  world. 

In  these  great  outlying  colonies  and  lodgments  of  European 
nations  ia  the  East  Indies  and  Africa,  a  stranger  is  commonly 
5 


98 

welcome  to  the  hospitality  of  every  foreigner.  I  had  no  hesita- 
tion, therefore,  in  returning  to  the  house  of  Joseph,  who,  like 
myself,  had  been  a  clerk  of  Ormond,  and  suffered  from  the  pil- 
ferings  of  the  matron. 

My  host,  I  understood,  was  a  native  of  London,  where  he 
was  born  of  continental  parents,  and  came  to  Sierra  Leone  with 
Governor  Turner.  Upon  the  death  or  return  of  that  officer, — I 
do  not  recollect  which, — the  young  adventurer  remained  in  the 
colony,  and,  for  a  time,  enjoyed  the  post  of  harbor  master.  His 
first  visit  to  the  Rio  Pongo  was  in  the  capacity  of  supercargo  of 
a  small  coasting  craft,  laden  with  valuable  merchandise.  Joseph 
succeeded  in  disposing  of  his  wares,  but  was  not  equally  fortu- 
nate in  collecting  their  avails.  It  was,  perhaps,  an  ill-judged 
act  of  the  supercargo,  but  he  declined  tp  face  his  creditors  with 
a  deficient  balance-sheet ;  and  quitting  Sierra  Leone  for  ever, 
accepted  service  with  Ormond.  For  a  year  he  continued  in  this 
employment ;  but,  at  the  end  of  that  period,  considering  himself 
sufficiently  informed  of  the  trade  and  language  of  the  river,  he 
sent  a  message  to  his  creditors  at  the  British  settlement  that  he 
could  promptly  pay  them  in  full,  if  they  would  advance  him 
capital  enough  to  commence  an  independent  trade.  The  terms 
were  accepted  by  an  opulent  Israelite,  and  in  a  short  time  Ed- 
ward Joseph  was  numbered  among  the  successful  factors  of  Rio 
Pongo. 

As  I  had  nothing  to  do  but  get  well  and  talk,  I  employed  my 
entire  leisure  in  acquiring  the  native  language  perfectly.  The 
Soosoo  is  a  dialect  of  the  Mandingo.  Its  words,  ending  almost 
universally  in  vowels,  render  it  as  glibly  soft  and  musical  as 
Italian  ;  so  that,  in  a  short  time,  I  spoke  it  as  fluently  as  my 
native  tongue. 


TWENTY   YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  99 


CHAPTEK   XI. 

The  15tli  of  March,  1827,  was  an  epoch  in  my  life.  I  re- 
member it  well,  because  it  became  the  turning  point  of  my 
destiny.  A  few  weeks  more  of  indolence  might  have  forced  me 
back  to  Europe  or  America,  but  the  fortune  of  that  day  decided 
my  residence  and  dealings  in  Africa. 

At  dawn  of  the  15th,  a  vessel  was  descried  in  the  offing,  anu, 
as  she  approached  the  coast,  the  initiated  soon  ascertained  her 
to  be  a  Spanish  slaver.  But,  what  was  the  amazement  of  the 
river  grandees  when  the  captain  landed  and  consigned  his  vessel 
to  me ! 

"  La  Fortuna,"  the  property,  chiefly,  of  my  old  friend  the 
Regla  grocer,  was  successor  of  the  Areostatico,  which  she 
exceeded  in  size  as  well  as  comfort.  Her  captain  was  charged  to 
pay  me  my  wages  in  full  for  the  round  voyage  in  the  craft  I  had 
abandoned,  and  handed  me,  besides,  a  purse  of  thirty  doubloons 
as  a  testimonial  from  his  owners  for  ray  defence  of  their  property 
on  the  dreadful  night  of  our  arrival.  The  "  Fortuna "  was 
dispatched  to  me  for  an  "  assorted  cargo  of  slaves,"  while 
200,000  cigars  and  500  ounces  of  Mexican  gold,  were  on  board 
for  their  purchase.  My  commission  was  fixed  at  ten  per  cent., 
and  I  was  promised  a  command  whenever  I  saw  fit  to  abandon 
my  residence  on  the  African  coast. 

Having  no  factory,  or  barracoon  of  slaves,  and  being  elevated 
to  the  dignity  of  "  a  trader  "  in  so  sudden  a  manner,  I  thought 
it  best  to  summon  all  the  factors  of   the  river  on  board  the 


100 

schooner,  with  an  offer  to  divide  the  cargo,  provided  they  would 
pledge  the  production  of  the  slaves  within  thirty  days.  Dispatch 
was  all-important  to  the  owners,  and,  so  anxious  was  I  to  gratify 
them,  that  I  consented  to  pay  fifty  dollars  for  every  slave  that 
should  be  accepted. 

After  some  discussion  my  offer  was  taken,  and  the  cargo  appor- 
tioned among  the  residents.  They  declined,  however,  receiving 
any  share  of  the  cigars  in  payment,  insisting  on  liquidation  in 
gold  alone. 

As  this  was  my  first  enterprise,  I  felt  at  a  loss  to  know  how 
to  convert  my  useless  tobacco  into  merchantable  doubloons.  In 
this  strait,  I  had  recourse  to  the  Englishman  Joseph,  who 
hitherto  traded  exclusively  in  produce  ;  but,  being  unable  to 
withstand  the  temptation  of  gold,  had  consented  to  furnish  a 
portion  of  my  required  negroes.  As  soon  as  I  stated  the  diffi- 
culty to  Don  Edward,  he  proposed  to  send  the  Havanas  to  his 
Hebrew  friend  in  Sierra  Leone,  where,  he  did  not  doubt,  they 
would  be  readily  exchanged  for  Manchester  merchandise.  That 
evening  a  canoe  was  dispatched  to  the  English  colony  with  the 
cigars  ;  and,  on  the  tenth  day  after,  the  trusty  Israelite  appeared 
in  the  Rio  Pongo,  with  a  cutter  laden  to  the  deck  with  superior 
British  fabrics.  The  rumor  of  five  hundred  doubloons  disturbed 
his  rest  in  Sierra  Leone  !  So  much  gold  could  not  linger  in  the 
hands  of  natives  as  long  as  Manchester  and  Birmingham  were 
represented  in  the  colony  ;  and,  accordingly,  he  coasted  the  edge 
of  the  surf,  as  rapidly  as  possible,  to  pay  me  a  profit  of  four 
dollars  a  thousand  for  the  cigars,  and  to  take  his  chances  at  the 
exchange  of  my  gold  for  the  sable  cargo  !  By  this  happy  hit  I 
was  enabled  to  pay  for  the  required  balance  of  negroes,  as  well 
as  to  liquidate  the  schooner's  expenses  while  in  the  river.  I  was 
amazingly  rejoiced  and  proud  at  this  happy  result,  because  I 
learned  from  the  captain  that  the  invoice  of  cigars  was  a  ma- 
licious trick,  palmed  off  on  the  Areostatico's  owners  by  her 
captain,  in  order  to  thwart  or  embarrass  me,  when  he  heard  I 
was  to  be  intrusted  with  the  purchase  of  a  cargo  on  the  coast. 

At  the  appointed  day,  La  Fortuna  sailed  with  220  human 
beings  packed  in  her  hold.  Three  months  afterwards,  I  received 
advices  that  she  safely  landed   217  in  the  bay  of  Matanzas,  and 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER. 


101 


that  their  sale  yielded  a   clear  profit  on  the  voyage  of  forty-one 
thousand  four  hundred  and  thirty-eight  dollars.* 

*  As  the  reader  may  scarcely  credit  so  large  a  profit,  I  subjoin  an 
account  of  the  fitting  of  a  slave  vessel  from  Havana  in  1827,  and  the 
liquidation  of  her  voyage  in  Cuba: — 

1. — Expenses  Out. 
Cost  of  La  Fortuna,  a  90  ton  schooner,        .         .         .     $3,700  00 


Fitting  out,  sails,  carpenter  and  cooper's  bills. 
Provisions  for  crew  and  slaves,  .... 

Wages  advanced  to  18  men  before  the  mast, 

"             "          to  captain,  mates,  boatswain,  cook,  ) 
and  steward,         .         .         .         .  f 
200,000  cigars  and  500  doubloons,  cargo. 
Clearance  and  hush-money 


2,500  00 

1,115  00 

900  00 

440  00 

10,900  00 
200  00 


$19,755  00 
987  00 

$20,742  00 


Commission  at  5  per  cent,,     .... 
Full  cost  of  voyage  out, 

2. — Expenses  Home. 

Captain's  head-money,  at  $8  a  head,       .         .         .  1,746  00 

Mate's               "                   $4      "...         .  873  00 

Second  mate  and  boatswain's  head-money,  at  $2  each  )  „^„  ^  „ 

a  head,         ........        \ 

Captain's  wages, 219  78 

Fiist  mate's  wages,         ......  175  56 

Second  mate  and  boatswain's  wages,          .         .         .  307  12 

Cook  and  steward's  wages, 264  00 

Eighteen  sailors'  wages 1,972  00 


3. — Expenses  in  Havana. 
Government  officers,  at  $8  per  head,     . 
My  commission  on  217  slaves,  expenses  off, 
Consignees'  commissions,        .         .         .         . 
217  slave  dresses,  at  $2  each, 
Extra  expenses  of  all  kinds,  say, 

Total  expenses, 

4. — Returns. 
Value  of  vessel  at  auction,    .... 
Proceeds  of  217  slaves, 


$27,172  46 

1,736  00 
5,665  00 
8,873  00 
634  00 
1,000  00 

.  $39,980  46 


$3,950  00 
77,469  00 

$81,419  00 


Resume. 


Total  Returns, 
*'     Expenses, 


Nett  profit, 


$81,419  00 
39,980  46 

$41,438  54 


102  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

As  I  am  now  fairly  embarked  in  a  trade  ■which  absorbed  so 
many  of  my  most  vigorous  years,  I  suppose  the  reader  will  not 
be  loth  to  learn  a  little  of  my  experience  in  the  alleged  "  cruel- 
ties "  of  this  commerce ;  and  the  first  question,  in  all  likelihood, 
that  rises  to  his  lips,  is  a  solicitation  to  be  apprised  of  the  em- 
barkation and  treatment  of  slaves  on  the  dreaded  voyage. 

An  African  factor  of  fair  repute  is  ever  careful  to  select  his 
human  cargo  with  consummate  prudence,  so  as  not  only  to  supply 
his  employers  with  athletic  laborers,  but  to  avoid  any  taint  of 
disease  that  may  affect  the  slaves  in  their  transit  to  Cuba  or  the 
American  main.  Two  days  before  embarkation,  the  head  of 
every  male  and  female  is  neatly  shaved ;  and,  if  the  cargo  be- 
longs to  several  owners,  each  man's  brand  is  impressed  on  the 
body  of  his  respective  negro.  This  operation  is  performed  with 
pieces  of  silver  wire,  or  small  irons  fashioned  into  the  merchant's 
initials,  heated  just  hot  enough  to  blister  without  burning  the 
skin.  When  the  entire  cargo  is  the  venture  of  but  one  pro- 
prietor, the  branding  is  always  dispensed  with. 

On  the  appointed  day,  the  barracoon  or  slave-pen  is  made 
joyous  by  the  abundant  "  feed "  which  signalizes  the  negro's 
last  hours  in  his  native  country.  The  feast  over,  they  are  taken 
alongside  the  vessel  in  canoes ;  and  as  they  touch  the  deck,  they 
are  entirely  stripped,  so  that  women  as  well  as  men  go  out  of 
Africa  as  they  came  into  it — naked.  This  precaution,  it  will  be 
understood,  is  indispensable;  for  perfect  nudity,  during  the  whole 
voyage,  is  the  only  means  of  securing  cleanliness  and  health.  In 
this  state,  they  are  immediately  ordered  below,  the  men  to  the 
hold  and  the  women  to  the  cabin,  while  boys  and  girls  are,  day 
and  night,  kept  on  deck,  where  their  sole  protection  from  the 
elements  is  a  sail  in  fair  weather,  and  a  tarpaulin  in  foul. 

At  meal  time  they  are  distributed  in  messes  of  ten.  Thirty 
years  ago,  when  the  Spanish  slave  trade  was  lawful,  the  captains 
were  somewhat  more  ceremoniously  religious  than  at  present,  and 
it  was  then  a  universal  habit  to  make  the  gangs  say  grace  before 
meat,  and  give  thanks  afterwards.  In  our  days,  however,  they 
dispense  with  this  ritual,  and  content  themselves  with  a  "  Viva 
la  Habana^^  or  "  hurrah  for  Havana,"  accompanied  by  a  clapping 
of  hands. 


BR  AX  DING    A    NKORESS. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  103 

This  over,  a  bucket  of  salt  water  is  served  to  each  mess,  by 
way  of  "  finger  glasses  "  for  the  ablution  of  hands,  after  which  a 
kidd^ — either  of  rice,  farina,  yams,  or  beans, — according  to  the 
tribal  habit  of  the  negroes,  is  placed  before  the  squad.  In  order 
to  prevent  greediness  or  inequality  in  the  appropriation  of 
nourishment,  the  process  is  performed  by  signals  from  a  monitor, 
whose  motions  indicate  when  the  darkies  shall  dip  and  when 
they  shall  swallow. 

It  is  the  duty  of  a  guard  to  report  immediately  whenever  a 
slave  refuses  to  eat,  in  order  that  his  abstinence  may  be  traced 
to  stubborness  or  disease.  Negroes  have  sometimes  been  found 
in  slavers  who  attempted  voluntary  starvation ;  so  that,  when  the 
watch  reports  the  patient  to  be  "  shamming,"  his  appetite  is 
stimulated  by  the  medical  antidote  of  a  "  cat."  If  the  slave, 
however,  is  truly  ill,  he  is  forthwith  ticketed  for  the  sick-list  by 
a  bead  or  button  around  his  neck,  and  dispatched  to  an  infirmary 
in  the  forecastle. 

These  meals  occur  twice  daily, — at  ten  in  the  morning  and 
four  in  the  afternoon, — and  are  terminated  by  another  ablution. 
Thrice  in  each  twenty-four  hours  they  are  served  with  half  a  pint 
of  water.  Pipes  and  tobacco  are  circulated  economically  among 
both  sexes  ;  but,  as  each  negro  cannot  be  allowed  the  luxury  of  a 
separate  bowl,  boys  are  sent  round  with  an  adequate  supply, 
allowing  a  few  whiff's  to  each  individual.  On  regular  days, — 
probably  three  times  a  week, — their  mouths  are  carefully  rinsed 
with  vinegar,  while,  nearly  every  morning,  a  dram  is  given  as  an 
antidote  to  scurvy. 

Although  it  is  found  necessary  to  keep  the  sexes  apart,  they 
are  allowed  to  converse  freely  during  day  while  on  deck.  Cor- 
poral punishment  is  never  inflicted  save  by  order  of  an  ojficer, 
and,  even  then,  not  until  the  culprit  understands  exactly  why  it 
is  done.  Once  a  week,  the  ship's  barber  scrapes  their  chins 
without  assistance  from  soap ;  and,  on  the  same  day,  their  nails 
are  closely  pared,  to  insure  security  from  harm  in  those  nightly 
battles  that  occur,  when  the  slave  contests  with  his  neighbor 
every  inch  of  plank  to  which  he  is  glued.  During  afternoons  of 
serene  weather,  men,  women,  girls,  and  boys  are  allowed  to  unite 


104  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

in  African  melodies,  which  they  always  enhance  by  an  extempo- 
raneous tom-tom  on  the  bottom  of  a  tub  or  tin  kettle. 

These  hints  will  apprise  the  reader  that  the  greatest  care, 
compatible  with  safety,  is  taken  of  a  negro's  health  and  cleanli- 
ness on  the  voyage.  In  every  well-conducted  slaver,  the  captain, 
officers,  and  crew,  are  alert  and  vigilant  to  preserve  the  cargo. 
It  is  their  personal  interest,  as  well  as  the  interest  of  humanity 
to  do  so.  The  boatswain  is  incessant  in  his  patrol  of  purifica- 
tion, and  disinfecting  substances  are  plenteously  distributed. 
The  upper  deck  is  washed  and  swabbed  daily ;  the  slave  deck  is 
scraped  and  holy-stoned  ;  and,  at  nine  o'clock  each  morning,  the 
captain  inspects  every  part  of  his  craft ;  so  that  no  vessel,  except 
a  man-of-war,  can  compare  with  a  slaver  in  systematic  order, 
purity,  and  neatness.  I  am  not  aware  that  the  ship-fever,  which 
sometimes  decimates  the  emigrants  from  Europe,  has  ever  pre- 
vailed in  these  African  traders. 

At  sundown,  the  process  of  stowing  the  slaves  for  the  night 
is  begun.  The  second  mate  and  boatswain  descend  into  the 
hold,  whip  in  hand,  and  range  the  slaves  in  their  regular  places; 
those  on  the  right  side  of  the  vessel  facing  forward,  and  lying 
in  each  other's  lap,  while  those  on  the  left  are  similarly  stowed 
with  their  faces  towards  the  stern.  In  this  way  each  negro  lies 
on  his  right  side,  which  is  considered  preferable  for  the  action  of 
the  heart.  In  allotting  places,  particular  attention  is  paid  to 
size,  the  taller  being  selected  for  the  greatest  breadth  of  the 
vessel,  while  the  shorter  and  younger  are  lodged  near  the  bows. 
When  the  cargo  is  large  and  the  lower  deck  crammed,  the  super- 
numeraries are  disposed  of  on  deck,  which  is  securely  covered 
with  boards  to  shield  them  from  moisture.  The  strict  discipline 
of  nightly  stowage  is,  of  course,  of  the  greatest  importance  in 
slavers,  else  every  negro  would  accommodate  himself  as  if  he 
were  a  passenger. 

In  order  to  insure  perfect  silence  and  regularity  during  night, 
a  slave  is  chosen  as  constable  from  every  ten,  and  furnished  with 
a  "  cat  "  to  enforce  commands  during  his  appointed  watch.  In 
remuneration  for  his  services,  which,  it  may  be  believed,  are 
admirably  performed  whenever  the  whip  is  required,  he  is  adorned 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  105 

with  an  old  shirt  or  tarry  trowsers.  Now  and  then,  billets  of 
wood  are  distributed  among  the  sleepers,  but  this  luxury  is  never 
granted  until  the  good  temper  of  the  negroes  is  ascertained,  for 
slaves  have  often  been  tempted  to  mutiny  by  the  power  of  arming 
themselves  with  these  pillows  from  the  forest. 

It  is  very  probable  that  many  of  my  readers  will  consider  it 
barbarous  to  make  slaves  lie  down  naked  upon  a  board,  but  let 
me  inform  them  that  native  Africans  are  not  familiar  with  the 
use  of  feather-beds,  nor  do  any  but  the  free  and  rich  in  their 
mother  country  indulge  in  the  luxury  even  of  a  mat  or  raw- hide. 
Among  the  Mandingo  chiefs, — the  most  industrious  and  civilized 
of  Africans, — the  beds,  divans,  and  sofas,  are  heaps  of  mud, 
covered  with  untanned  skins  for  cushions,  while  logs  of  wood 
serve  for  bolsters  !  I  am  of  opinion,  therefore,  that  emigrant 
slaves  experience  very  slight  inconvenience  in  lying  down  on  the 
deck. 

But  ventilation  is  carefully  attended  to.  The  hatches  and 
bulkheads  of  every  slaver  are  grated,  and  apertures  are  cut 
about  the  deck  for  ampler  circulation  of  air.  Wind-sails,  too,  are 
constantly  pouring  a  steady  draft  into  the  hold,  except  during  a 
chase,  when,  of  course,  every  comfort  is  temporarily  sacrificed 
for  safety.  During  calms  or  in  light  and  baffling  winds,  when  the 
sufibcating  air  of  the  tropics  makes  ventilation  impossible,  the 
gratings  are  always  removed,  and  portions  of  the  slaves  allowed 
to  repose  at  night  on  deck,  while  the  crew  is  armed  to  watch  the 
sleepers. 

Handcuffs  are  rarely  used  on  shipboard.  It  is  the  common 
custom  to  secure  slaves  in  the  barracoons^  and  while  shipping, 
by  chaining  ten  in  a  gang ;  but  as  these  platoons  would  be  ex- 
tremely inconvenient  at  sea,  the  manacles  are  immediately  taken 
off  and  replaced  by  leg-irons,  which  fasten  them  in  pairs  by  the 
feet.  Shackles  are  never  used  but  for  full-grown  men^  while 
women  and  boys  are  set  at  liberty  as  soon  as  tjjey  embark.  It 
frequently  happens  that  when  the  behavior  of  male  slaves  war- 
rants their  freedom,  they  are  released  from  all  fastenings  long 
before  they  arrive.  Irons  are  altogether  dispensed  with  on  many 
Brazilian  slavers,  as  negroes  from  Anjuda,  Benin,  and  Angola, 
5* 


106  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

are  mild;  and  unaddicted  to  revolt  like  those  who  dwell  east  of 
the  Cape  or  north  of  the  Gold  Coast.  Indeed,  a  knowing  trader 
will  never  use  chains  but  when  compelled,  for  the  longer  a  slave 
is  ironed  the  more  he  deteriorates  ;  and,  as  his  sole  object  is  to 
land  a  healthy  cargo,  pecuniary  interest,  as  well  as  natural  feel- 
ing, urges  the  sparing  of  metal. 

My  object  in  writing  this  palliative  description  is  not  to  excul- 
pate the  slavers  or  their  commerce,  but  to  correct  those  exagger- 
ated stories  which  have  so  long  been  current  in  regard  to  the 
usual  voyage  of  a  trader.  I  have  always  believed  that  the  cause 
of  humanity,  as  well  as  any  other  cause,  was  least  served  by 
over-statement ;  and  I  am  sure  that  if  the  narratives  given  by 
Englishmen  are  true,  the  voyages  they  detail  must  either  have 
occurred  before  my  day,  or  were  conducted  in  British  vessels, 
while  her  majesty's  subjects  still  considered  the  traffic  lawful.* 

*  The  treaty  with  Spain,  which  was  designed  by  Great  Britain  to  end 
tlie  slave  trade,  failed  utterly  to  produce  the  desired  result. 

All  -profitable  trade, — illicit,  contraband,  or  what  not, — uiill  be  carried 
on  by  avaricious  men,  as  long  as  the  temptation  continues.  Accordingly, 
whenever  a  trade  becomes  forced,  the  only  and  sure  result  of  violent 
restriction  is  to  imperil  still  more  both  life  and  cargo. 

1st. — The  treaty  with  Spain,  it  is  said,  was  enforced  some  time  before 
it  was  pi'operly  promulgated  or  notified ;  so  that  British  cruisers  seized 
over  eighty  vessels,  one  third  of  which  certainly  were  not  designed  for 
slave-trade. 

2d. — As  the  compact  condemned  slave  vessels  to  be  broken  up,  the 
Bailing  qualities  of  craft  were  improved  to  facilitate  escape,  rather  than 
insure  human  comfort. 

3d. — The  Spanish  slavers  had  recourse  to  Brazilians  and  Portuguese  to 
cover  their  property ;  and,  as  slavers  could  not  be  fitted  out  in  Cuba,  other 
nations  sent  their  vessels  ready  equipped  to  Africa,  and  (under  the  jib- 
booms  of  cruisers)  Sardinians,  Frenchmen  and  Americans,  transferred  them 
to  slave  traders,  while  the  captains  and  parts  of  the  crew  took  passage  home 
in  regular  merchantmen. 

4th. — As  the  treaty  created  greater  risk,  every  method  of  economy  was 
resorted  to  ;  and  the  crowding  and  cramming  of  slaves  was  one  of  the 
most  prominent  results.  Water  and  provisions  were  diminished;  and 
every  thing  was  sacrificed  for  gain. 


TWENTY    YEARS   OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER-  107 


CHAPTER    XII. 

In  old  times,  before  treaties  made  slave-trade  piracy,  the  land- 
ing of  human  cargoes  was  as  comfortably  conducted  as  the  dis- 
embarkation of  flour.  But  now,  the  enterprise  is  effected  with 
secrecy  and  hazard.  A  wild,  uninhabited  portion  of  the  coast, 
where  some  little  bay  or  sheltering  nook  exists,  is  commonly 
selected  by  the  captain  and  his  confederates.  As  soon  as  the 
vessel  is  driven  close  to  the  beach  and  anchored,  her  boats  are 
packed  with  slaves,  while  the  craft  is  quickly  dismantled  to  avoid 
detection  from  sea  or  land.  The  busy  skiflfs  are  hurried  to  and 
fro  incessantly  till  the  cargo  is  entirely  ashore,  when  the  secured 
gang,  led  by  the  captain,  and  escorted  by  armed  sailors,  is  rapid- 
ly marched  to  the  nearest  plantation.  There  it  is  safe  from  the 
rapacity  of  local  magistrates,  who,  if  they  have  a  chance,  imitate 
their  superiors  by  exacting  ^''  gratifications. '''' 

In  the  mean  time,  a  courier  has  been  dispatched  to  the 
owners  in  Havana,  Matanzas,  or  Santiago  de  Cuba,  who  imme- 
diately post  to  the  plantation  with  clothes  for  the  slaves  and  gold 
for  the  crew.  Preparations  are  quickly  made  through  brokers 
for  the  sale  of  the  blacks ;  while  the  vessel,  if  small,  is  disguised, 
to  warrant  her  return  under  the  coasting  flag  to  a  port  of  clear- 
ance. If  the  craft  happens  to  be  large,  it  is  considered  perilous 
to  attempt  a  return  with  a  cargo,  or  "  in  distresi^^  and,  accord- 
ingly, she  is  either  sunk  or  burnt  where  she  lies. 


108  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

When  the  genuine  African  reaches  a  plantation  for  the  first 
time,  he  fancies  himself  in  paradise.  He  is  amazed  by  the 
generosity  with  which  he  is  fed  with  fruit  and  fresh  provisions. 
His  new  clothes,  red  cap,  and  roasting  blanket  (a  civilized 
superfluity  he  never  dreamed  of),  strike  him  dumb  with  delight, 
and,  in  his  savage  joy,  he  not  only  forgets  country,  relations, 
and  friends,  but  skips  about  like  a  monkey,  while  he  dons  his 
garments  wrongside  out  or  hind-part  before  !  The  arrival  of  a 
carriage  or  cart  creates  no  little  confusion  among  the  Ethiopian 
groups,  who  never  imagined  that  beasts  could  be  made  to  work. 
But  the  climax  of  wonder  is  reached  when  that  paragon  of  oddi- 
ties, a  Cuban  'postilion^  dressed  in  his  sky-blue  coat,  silver- 
laced  hat,  white  breeches,  polished  jackboots,  and  ringing  spurs, 
leaps  from  his  prancing  quadruped,  and  bids  them  welcome  in 
their  mother  tongue.  Every  African  rushes  to  "  snap  fingers  " 
with  his  equestrian  brother,  who,  according  to  orders,  forthwith 
preaches  an  edifying  sermon  on  the  happiness  of  being  a  white 
man's  slave,  taking  care  to  jingle  his  spurs  and  crack  his  whip 
at  the  end  of  every  sentence,  by  way  of  amen. 

Whenever  a  cargo  is  owned  by  several  proprietors,  each  one 
takes  his  share  at  once  to  his  plantation  ;  but  if  it  is  the  pro- 
perty of  speculators,  the  blacks  are  sold  to  any  one  who  requires 
them  before  removal  from  the  original  depot.  The  sale  is,  of 
course,  conducted  as  rapidly  as  possible,  to  forestall  the  inter- 
ference of  British  officials  with  the  Captain-General. 

Many  of  the  Spanish  Governors  in  Cuba  have  respected 
treaties,  or,  at  least,  promised  to  enforce  the  laws.  Squadrons 
of  dragoons  and  troops  of  lancers  have  been  paraded  with  con- 
venient delay,  and  ordered  to  gallop  to  plantations  designated 
by  the  representative  of  England.  It  generally  happens,  how- 
ever, that  when  the  hunters  arrive  the  game  is  gone.  Scandal 
declares  that,  while  brokers  are  selling  the  blacks  at  the  depot, 
it  is  not  unusual  for  their  owner  or  his  agent  to  be  found 
knocking  at  the  door  of  the  Captain-General's  secretary.  It  is 
even  said  that  the  Captain-General  himself  is  sometimes  pre- 
sent in  the  sanctuary,  and,  after  a  familiar  chat  about  the  happy 
landing  of  "  the  contraband," — as   the  traffic  is  amiably  called, 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  109 

the  requisite  rouleaux  are  insinuated  into  the  official  desk  under 
the  intense  smoke  of  a  fragrant  cigarillo.  The  metal  is  always 
considered  the  property  of  the  Captain -General,  but  his  scribe 
avails  himself  of  a  lingering  farewell  at  the  door,  to  hint  an 
immediate  and  pressing  need  for  "  a  very  small  darkey  !  "  Next 
day,  the  diminutive  African  does  not  appear ;  but,  as  it  is  be- 
lieved that  Spanish  officials  prefer  gold  even  to  mortal  flesh,  his 
algebraic  equivalent  is  unquestionably  furnished  in  the  shape  of 
shining  ounces ! 

The  prompt  dispatch  I  gave  the  schooner  Fortuna,  started 
new  ideas  among  the  traders  of  the  Rio  Pongo.  so  that  it  was 
generally  agreed  my  method  of  dividing  the  cargo  among  differ- 
ent factors  was  not  only  most  advantageous  for  speed,  but  pre- 
vented monopoly,  and  gave  all  an  equal  chance.  At  a  "  grand 
palaver  "  or  assemblage  of  the  traders  on  the  river,  it  was  re- 
solved that  this  should  be  the  course  of  trade  for  the  future. 
All  the  factors,  except  Ormond,  attended  and  assented  ;  but 
we  learned  that  the  Mongo's  people,  with  difficulty  prevented 
him  from  sending  an  armed  party  to  break  up  our  deliberations. 

The  knowledge  of  this  hostile  feeling  soon  spread  throughout 
the  settlement  and  adjacent  towns,  creating  considerable  excite- 
ment against  Ormond.  My  plan  and  principles  were  approved 
by  the  natives  as  well  as  foreigners,  so  that  warning  was  sent 
the  Mongo,  if  any  harm  befell  Joseph  and  Theodore,  it  would 
be  promptly  resented.  Our  native  landlord,  Ali-Ninpha,  a 
Foulah  by  descent,  told  him  boldly,  in  presence  of  his  people, 
that  the  Africans  were  "  tired  of  a  mulatto  Mongo  ;  "  and,  from 
that  day,  his  power  dwindled  away  visibly,  though  a  show  of 
respect  was  kept  up  in  consequence  of  his  age  and  ancient  im- 
portance. 

During  these  troubles,  the  Areostatico  returned  to  my  con- 
signment, and  in  twenty-two  days  was  dispatched  with  a  choice 
cargo  of  Mandingos, — a  tribe,  which  had  become  fashionable  for 
house  servants  among  the  Havanese.  But  the  luckless  vessel 
was  never  heard  of,  and  it  is  likely  she  went  down  in  some  of 
the  dreadful  gales  that  scourged  the  coast  immediately  after  her 
departure. 


1  1  0  CAPTAIN    CANOT  *,    OR, 


CHAPTER    XIII. 

I  HAD  now  grown  to  such  sudden  importance  among  the  natives, 
that  the  neighboring  chiefs  and  kings  sent  me  daily  messages 
of  friendship,  with  trifling  gifts  that  I  readily  accepted.  One 
of  these  bordering  lords,  more  generous  and  insinuating  than 
the  rest,  hinted  several  times  his  anxiety  for  a  closer  connection 
in  affection  as  well  as  trade,  and,  at  length,  insisted  upon  becom- 
ing my  father-in-law  ! 

I  had  always  heard  in  Italy  that  it  was  something  to  receive 
the  hand  of  a  princess,  even  after  long  and  tedious  wooing ;  but 
now  that  I  was  surrounded  by  a  mob  of  kings,  who  absolutely 
thrust  their  daughters  on  me,  I  confess  I  had  the  bad  taste  not 
to  leap  with  joy  at  the  royal  offering.  Still,  I  was  in  a  difficult 
position,  as  no  graver  offence  can  be  given  a  chief  than  to  reject 
his  child.  It  is  so  serious  an  insult  to  refuse  a  wife,  that,  high 
born  natives,  in  order  to  avoid  quarrels  or  war,  accept  the  tender 
boon,  and  as  soon  as  etiquette  permits,  pass  it  over  to  a  friend  or 
relation.  As  the  offer  was  made  to  me  personally  by  the  king,  I 
found  the  utmost  difficulty  in  escaping.  Indeed,  he  would  re- 
ceive no  excuse.  When  I  declined  on  account  of  the  damsel's 
youth,  he  laughed  incredulously.  If  I  urged  the  feebleness  of 
my  health  and  tardy  convalescence,  he  insisted  that  a  regular  life 
of  matrimony  was  the  best  cordial  for  an  impaired  constitution. 
In  fact,  the  paternal  solicitude  of  his  majesty  for  my  doubloons 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  Ill 

was  SO  urgent  that  I  was  on  the  point  of  yielding  myself  a 
patient  sacrifice,  when  Joseph  came  to  my  relief  with  the  offer 
of  his  hand  as  a  substitute. 

The  Gordian  knot  was  cut.  Prince  Yungee  in  reality  did  not 
care  so  much  who  should  be  his  son-in-law  as  that  he  obtained 
one  with  a  white  skin  and  plentiful  purse.  Joseph  or  Theodore, 
Saxon  or  Italian,  made  no  difference  to  the  chief;  and,  as  is  the 
case  in  all  Oriental  lands,  the  opinion  of  the  lady  was  of  no  im- 
portance whatever. 

I  cannot  say  that  my  partner  viewed  this  matrimonial  pro- 
ject with  the  disgust  that  I  did.  Perhaps  he  was  a  man  of 
more  liberal  philosophy  and  wider  views  of  human  brotherhood ; 
at  any  rate,  his  residence  in  Africa  gave  him  a  taste  not  only  for 
its  people,  habits,  and  superstitions,  but  he  upheld  practical 
amalgamation  with  more  fervor  and  honesty  than  a  regular 
abolitionist.  Joseph  was  possessed  by  Africo-mania.  He  ad- 
mired the  women,  the  men,  the  language,  the  cookery,  the  music. 
He  would  fall  into  philharmonic  ecstasies  over  the  discord  of  a 
bamboo  tom-tom.  I  have  reason  to  believe  that  even  African 
barbarities  had  charms  for  the  odd  Englishman ;  but  he  was 
chiefly  won  by  the  dolcefar  niente  of  the  natives,  and  the  Oriental 
license  of  polygamy.  In  a  word,  Joseph  had  the  same  taste  for  a 
full-blooded  ciiffee,  that  an  epicure  has  for  the  haut  gout  of  a 
stale  partridge,  and  was  in  ecstasies  at  my  extrication.  He  neg- 
lected his  siestas  and  his  accounts ;  he  wandered  from  house  to 
house  with  the  rapture  of  an  impatient  bridegroom :  and,  till 
every  thing  was  ready  for  the  nuptial  rites,  no  one  at  the  factory 
had  a  moment's  rest. 

As  the  bride's  relations  were  eminent  folks  on  the  upper  part 
of  t|?e  river,  they  insisted  that  the  marriage  ceremony  should  be 
performed  with  all  the  honorable  formalities  due  to  the  lady's 
rank.  Esther,  who  acted  as  my  mentor  in  every  "  country-ques- 
tion," suggested  that  it  would  be  contrary  to  the  Englishman's 
interest  to  ally  himself  with  a  family  whose  only  motive  was  sor- 
did. She  strongly  urged  that  if  he  persisted  in  taking  the  girl, 
he  should  do  so  without  a  "  colungee^''  or  ceremonial  feast.  But 
Joseph  was  obstinate  as  a  bull ;  and  as  he  doubted  whether  he 


112 

would  ever  commit  matrimony  again,  he  insisted  that  the  nup- 
tials should  be  celebrated  with  all  the  fashionable  splendor  of 
high  life  in  Africa. 

When  this  was  decided,  it  became  necessary,  by  a  fiction 
of  etiquette,  to  ignore  the  previous  offer  of  the  bride,  and  to 
begin  anew,  as  if  the  damsel  were  to  be  sought  in  the  most  deli- 
cate way  by  a  desponding  lover.  She  must  be  demanded  for- 
mally, by  the  bridegroom  from  her  reluctant  mother ;  and  accord- 
ingly, the  most  respectable  matron  in  our  colony  was  chosen  by 
Joseph  from  his  colored  acquaintances  to  be  the  bearer  of  his 
valentine.  In  the  present  instance,  the  selected  Cupid  was  the 
principal  wife  of  our  native  landlord,  AliNinpha;  and,  as  Afri- 
cans as  well  as  Turks  love  by  the  pound,  the  dame  happened  to 
be  one  of  the  fattest,  as  well  as  most  respectable,  in  our  parish. 
Several  female  attaches  were  added  to  the  suite  of  the  ambassa- 
dress, who  forthwith  departed  to  make  a  proper  "  danticay 
The  gifts  selected  were  of  four  kinds.  First  of  all,  two  demi- 
johns of  trade-TVim.  were  filled  to  gladden  the  community  of  Mon- 
go-Yungee's  town.  Next,  a  piece  of  blue  cotton  cloth,  a  musket, 
a  keg  of  powder,  and  a  demijohn  of  pure  rum,  were  packed  for 
papa.  Thirdly,  a  youthful  virgin  dressed  in  a  white  "  tonton- 
gee,"^  a  piece  of  white  cotton  cloth,  a  white  basin,  a  white  sheep, 
and  a  basket  of  white  rice,  were  put  up  for  mamma,  in  token  of  her 
daughter's  purity.  And,  lastly,  a  German  looking-glass,  several 
bunches  of  beads,  a  coral  necklace,  a  dozen  of  turkey-red  hand- 
kerchiefs, and  a  spotless  white  country-cloth,  were  presented  to 
the  bride ;  together  with  a  decanter  of  white  palm  oil  for  the 
anointment  of  her  ebony  limbs  after  the  bath,  which  is  never  neg- 
lected by  African  belles. 

While  the  missionary  of  love  was  absent,  our  sighing  ^wain 
devoted  his  energies  to  the  erection  of  a  bridal  palace  ;  and  the 
task  required  just  as  many  days  as  were  employed  in  the  crea- 
tion of  the  world.     The  building  was  finished  by  the  aid  of  bam- 

*  A  tontongee  is  a  strip  of  white  cotton  cloth,  three  inches  wide  and 
four  feet  long,  used  as  a  virgin  African^s  only  dress.  It  is  wound  round 
the  limbs,  and,  hanging  partly  in  front  and  partly  behind,  is  supported 
from  the  maiden's  waist  by  strands  of  showee-bcads. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  113 

boos,  straw,  and  a  modicum  of  mud ;  and,  as  Joseph  imagined 
that  love  and  coolness  were  secured  in  such  a  climate  by 
utter  darkness,  he  provided  an  abundance  of  that  commodity  by 
omitting  windows  entirely.  The  furnishing  of  the  domicil  was 
completed  with  all  the  luxury  of  native  taste.  An  elastic  four- 
poster  was  constructed  of  bamboos ;  some  dashing  crockery  was 
set  about  the  apartment  for  display ;  a  cotton  quilt  was  cast  over 
the  matted  couch ;  an  old  trunk  served  for  bureau  and  ward- 
robe ;  and,  as  negresses  adore  looking-glasses,  the  largest  in  our 
warehouse  was  nailed  against  the  door,  as  the  only  illuminated 
part  of  the  edifice. 

At  last  all  was  complete,  and  Joseph  snapped  his  fingers  with 
delight,  when  the  corpulent  dame  waddled  up  asthmatically,  and 
announced  with  a  wheeze  that  her  mission  was  prosperous.  If 
there  had  ever  been  doubt,  there  was  now  no  more.  The  oracu- 
lar '-'-  feilicW''  had  announced  that  the  delivery  of  the  bride  to 
her  lord  might  take  place  "  on  the  tenth  day  of  the  new 
moon." 

As  the  planet  waxed  from  its  slender  sickle  to  the  thicker 
quarter,  the  impatience  of  my  Cockney  waxed  with  it ;  but,  at 
length,  the  firing  of  muskets,  the  twang  of  horns,  and  the  rattle 
of  tom-toms,  gave  notice  from  the  river  that  Coomba,  the  bride, 
was  approaching  the  quay.  Joseph  and  myself  hastily  donned 
our  clean  shirts,  white  trousers,  and  glistening  pumps;  and,  under 
the  shade  of  broad  sombreros  and  umbrellas,  proceeded  to  greet 
the  damsel.  Our  fat  friend,  the  matron  ;  Ali-Niupha,  her  hus- 
band ;  our  servants,  and  a  troop  of  village  ragamuffins,  accom- 
panied us  to  the  water's  brink,  so  that  we  were  just  in  time  to 
receive  the  five  large  canoes  bearing  the  escort  of  the  king  and 
his  daughter.  Boat  after  boat  disgorged  its  passengers ;  but,  to 
our  dismay,  they  ranged  themselves  apart,  and  were  evidently 
displeased.  When  the  last  canoe,  decorated  with  flags,  containing 
the  bridal  party,  approached  the  strand,  the  chief  of  the  escort 
signalled  it  to  stop  and  forbade  the  landing. 

In  a  moment  there  was  a  general  row — a  row,  conceivable 
only  by  residents  of  Africa,  or  those  whose  ears  have  been  re- 
galed with  the  chattering  of  a  "  wilderness  of  monkeys."     Our 


114  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

lusty  factotum  was  astonished.  The  Cockney  aspirated  his  Ws 
with  uncommon  volubility.  We  hastened  from  one  to  the  other 
to  inquire  the  cause  ;  nor  was  it  until  near  half  an  hour  had 
been  wasted  in  palaver,  that  I  found  they  considered  themselves 
slighted,  first  of  all  because  we  had  not  fired  a  salvo  in  their 
honor,  and  secondly  because  we  failed  to  spread  mats  from  the 
beach  to  the  house,  upon  which  the  bride  might  place  her  virgin 
feet  without  defilement !  These  were  indispensable  formalities 
among  the  "  upper  ten  ;  "  and  the  result  was  that  Coomba  could 
not  land  unless  the  etiquette  were  fulfilled. 

Here,  then,  was  a  sad  dilemma.  The  guns  could  be  fired  in- 
stantly ; — but  where,  alas !  at  a  moment's  notice,  were  we  to 
obtain  mats  enough  to  carpet  the  five  hundred  yards  of  transit 
from  the  river  to  the  house  ?     The  match  must  be  broken  off ! 

My  crest-fallen  cockney  immediately  began  to  exculpate  him- 
self by  pleading  ignorance  of  the  country's  customs, — assuring 
the  strangers  that  he  had  not  the  slightest  inkling  of  the  require- 
ment. Still,  the  stubborn  "  master  of  ceremonies  "  would  not 
relax  an  iota  of  his  rigorous  behests. 

At  length,  our  bulky  dame  approached  the  master  of  the 
bridal  party,  and,  squatting  on  her  knees,  confessed  her  neglect- 
ful fault.  Then,  for  the  first  time,  I  saw  a  gleam  of  hope. 
Joseph  improved  the  moment  by  alleging  that  he  employed  this 
lady  patroness  to  conduct  every  thing  in  the  sublimest  style  im- 
aginable, because  it  was  presumed  no  one  knew  better  than  she 
all  that  was  requisite  for  so  admirable  and  virtuous  a  lady  as 
Coomba.  Inasmuch,  however,  as  he  had  been  disappointed  by 
her  unhappy  error,  he  did  not  think  the  blow  should  fall  on  his 
shoulders.  The  negligent  matron  ought  to  pay  the  penalty ;  and, 
as  it  was  impossible  now  to  procure  the  mats,  she  should  forfeit 
the  value  of  a  slave  to  aid  the  merry-making,  and  carry  the 
bride  on  her  hack  from  the  river  to  her  home  I 

A  clapping  of  hands  and  a  quick  murmur  of  assent  ran  through 
the  crowd,  telling  me  that  the  compromise  was  accepted.  But 
the  porterage  was  no  sinecure  for  the  delinquent  elephant,  who 
found  it  difficult  at  times  to  get  along  over  African  sands  even 
without  a  burden.     Still,  no  time  was  lost  in  further  parley  or 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN   AFRICAN    SLAVER.  115 

remonstrance.  The  muskets  and  cannon  were  brought  down  and 
exploded ;  the  royal  boat  was  brought  to  the  landing ;  father, 
mother,  brothers,  and  relations  were  paraded  on  the  strand ;  tom- 
toms and  horns  were  beaten  and  blown ;  and,  at  last,  the  suifer- 
ing  missionary  waddled  to  the  canoe  to  receive  the  veiled  form 
of  the  slender  bride. 

The  process  of  removal  was  accompanied  by  much  merriment. 
Our  corpulent  porter  groaned  as  she  '•  larded  the  lean  earth" 
beneath  her  ponderous  tread  ;  but,  in  due  course  of  labor 
and  patience,  she  sank  with  her  charge  on  the  bamboo  couch  of 
Master  Joseph. 

As  soon  as  the  bearer  and  the  burden  were  relieved  from 
their  fatigue,  the  maiden  was  brought  to  the  door,  and,  as  her 
long  concealing  veil  of  spotless  cotton  was  unwrapped  from  head 
and  limbs,  a  shout  of  admiration  went  up  from  the  native  crowd 
that  followed  us  from  the  quay  to  the  hovel.  As  Joseph  re- 
ceived the  hand  of  Coomba,  he  paid  the  princely  fee  of  a  slave  to 
the  matron. 

CooMBA  had  certainly  not  numbered  more  than  sixteen  years, 
yet,  in  that  burning  region,  the  sex  ripen  bug  before  their  pallid 
sisters  of  the  North.  She  belonged  to  the  Soosoo  tribe,  but  was 
descended  from  Mandingo  ancestors,  and  I  was  particularly  struck 
by  the  uncommon  symmetry  of  her  tapering  limbs.  Her  fea- 
tures and  head,  though  decidedly  African,  were  not  of  that  coarse 
and  heavy  cast  that  marks  the  lineaments  of  her  race.  The 
grain  of  her  shining  skin  was  as  fine  and  polished  as  ebony.  A 
melancholy  languor  subdued  and  deepened  the  blackness  of  her 
large  eyes,  while  her  small  and  even  teeth  gleamed  with  the  bril- 
liant purity  of  snow.  Her  mouth  was  rosy  and  even  delicate ; 
and,  indeed,  had  not  her  ankles,  feet,  and  wool,  manifested  the 
unfortunate  types  of  her  kindred,  Coomba,  the  daughter  of 
Mongo-Yungee,  might  have  passed  for  2,  chef  (Tczuvrc  in  black 
marble. 

The  scant  dress  of  the  damsel  enabled  me  to  be  so  minute  in 
this  catalogue  of  her  charms  ;  and,  in  truth,  had  I  not  inspected 
them  closely,  I  would  have  violated  matrimonial  etiquette  as 
much  as  if  I  failed  to  admire  the  trousseau  and  gifts  of  a  bride 


116  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

at  home.  Coomba's  costume  was  as  innocently  primitive  as 
Eve's  after  the  expulsion.  Like  all  maidens  of  her  country,  she 
had  beads  round  her  ankles,  beads  round  her  waist,  beads  round 
her  neck,  while  an  abundance  of  bracelets  hooped  her  arms  from 
wrist  to  elbow.  The  white  tontojtgpe  still  girdled  her  loins  ; 
but  Coomba's  climate  was  her  mantuamaker,  and  indicated  more 
necessity  for  ornament  than  drapery.  ^Accordingly,  Coomba  was 
obedient  to  Nature,  and  troubled  herself  very  little  about  a  sup- 
ply of  useless  garments,  to  load  the  presses  and  vex  the  purse  of 
her  bridegroom. 

As  soon  as  the  process  of  unveiling  was  over,  and  time  had 
been  allowed  the  spectators  to  behold  the  damsel,  her  mother  led 
her  gently  to  the  fat  ambassadress,  who,  with  her  companions, 
bore  the  girl  to  a  bath  for  ablution,  anointment,  and  per- 
fuming. While  Coomba  underwent  this  ceremony  at  the  hands 
of  our  matron,  flocks  of  sable  dames  entered  the  apartment ; 
and,  as  they  withdrew,  shook  hands  with  her  mother,  in  token 
of  the  maiden's  purity,  and  with  the  groom  in  compliment  to  his 
luck. 

As  soon  as  the  bath  and  oiling  were  over,  six  girls  issued 
from  the  hut,  bearing  the  glistening  bride  on  a  snow-white  sheet 
to  the  home  of  her  spouse.  The  transfer  was  soon  completed, 
and  the  burden  deposited  on  the  nuptial  bed.  The  dwelling  was 
then  closed  and  put  in  charge  of  sentinels ;  when  the  plump 
plenipotentiary  approached  the  Anglo  Saxon,  and  handing  him 
the  scant  fragments  of  the  bridal  dress,  pointed  to  the  door,  and, 
in  a  loud  voice,  exclaimed  :  "  White  man,  this  authorizes  you  to 
take  possession  of  your  wife  !  " 

It  may  naturally  be  supposed  that  our  radiant  cockney  was 
somewhat  embarrassed  by  so  public  a  display  of  matrimonial 
happiness,  at  six  o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  on  the  thirtieth  day  of 
a  sweltering  June.  Joseph  could  not  help  looking  at  me  with  a 
blush  and  a  laugh,  as  he  saw  the  eyes  of  the  whole  crowd  fixed 
on  his  movements  ;  but,  nerving  himself  like  a  man,  he  made  a 
profound  salamn  to  the  admiring  multitude,  and  shaking  my 
hand  with  a  convulsive  grip,  plunged  into  the  darkness  of  his 
abode,     A  long  pole  was  forthwith  planted  before  the  door,  and 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  117 

a  slender  strip  of  white  cotton,  about  the  size  of  a  "  tontongee^'' 
was  hoisted  in  token  of  privacy,  and  floated  from  the  staff  like  a 
pennant,  giving  notice  that  the  commodore  is  aboard. 

No  sooner  were  these  rites  over,  than  the  house  was  sur- 
rounded by  a  swarm  of  women  from  the  adjacent  villages,  whose 
incessant  songs,  screams,  chatter,  and  tomtom  beatings,  drowned 
every  mortal  sound.  Meanwhile,  the  men  of  the  party — whose 
merriment  around  an  enormous  bonfire  was  augmented  by  abun- 
dance of  liquor  and  provisions — amused  themselves  in  dancing, 
shouting,  yelling,  and  discharging  muskets  in  honor  of  the  nup- 
tials. 

Such  was  the  ceaseless  serenade  that  drove  peace  from  the 
lovers'  pillow  during  the  whole  of  that  memorable  night.  At 
dawn,  the  corpulent  matron  again  appeared  from  among  the 
wild  and  reeling  crowd,  and  concluding  her  functions  by  some 
mysterious  ceremonies,  led  forth  the  lank  groom  from  the  dark 
cavity  of  his  hot  and  sleepless  oven,  looking  more  like  a  bewil- 
dered wretch  rescued  from  drowning,  than  a  radiant  lover  fresh 
from  his  charmer.  In  due  time,  the  bride  also  was  brought  forth 
by  the  matrons  for  the  bath,  where  she  was  anointed  from  head 
to  foot  with  a  vegetable  butter, — whose  odor  is  probably  more 
agreeable  to  Africans  than  Americans, — and  fed  with  a  bowl  of 
broth  made  from  a  young  and  tender  pullet. 

The  marriage  fetca  lasted  three  days,  after  which  I  insisted 
that  Joseph  should  give  up  nonsense  for  business,  and  sobered 
his  ecstasies  by  handing  him  a  wedding-bill  for  five  hundred  and 
fifty  dollars. 

There  is  hardly  a  doubt  that  he  considered  Coomba  very 
dear^  if  not  absolutely  adorable ! 


lis  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 


[CHAPTEK    XIV. 

I  am  sorry  to  say  that  my  colleague's  honeymoon  did  not  last 
long,  although  it  was  not  interrupted  by  domestic  discord.  One 
of  his  malicious  Sierra  Leone  creditors,  who  bad  not  been  dealt 
with  quite  as  liberally  as  the  rest,  called  on  the  colonial  gover- 
nor of  that  British  establishment,  and  alleged  that  a  certain 
Edward  Joseph,  an  Englishman,  owned  a  factory  on  the  Rio 
Pongo,  in  company  with  a  Spaniard,  and  was  engaged  in  the 
slave  trade  ! 

At  this  the  British  lion,  of  course,  growled  in  his  African 
cage,  and  bestirred  himself  to  punish  the  recreant  cub.  An  ex- 
pedition was  forthwith  fitted  out  to  descend  upon  our  little  estab- 
lishment ;  and,  in  all  likelihood,  the  design  would  have  been 
executed,  had  not  our  friendly  Israelite  in  Sierra  Leone  sent  us 
timely  warning.  No  sooner  did  the  news  arrive  than  Joseph 
embarked  in  a  slaver,  and,  packing  up  his  valuables,  together 
with  sixty  negroes,  fled  from  Africa.  His  disconsolate  bride 
was  left  to  return  to  her  parents. 

As  the  hostile  visit  from  the  British  colony  was  hourly  ex- 
pected, I  did  not  tarry  long  in  putting  a  new  face  on  Kambia. 
Fresh  books  were  made  out  in  my  name  exclusively  ;  their  dates 
were  carefully  suited  to  meet  all  inquiries ;   and  the  townspeople 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  119 

were  prepared  to  answer  impertinent  questions;  so  that,  when 
Lieutenant  Findlay,  of  Her  Britannic  Majesty's  naval  service, 
made  his  appearance  in  the  river,  with  three  boats  bearing  the 
cross  of  St.  George,  no  man  in  the  settlement  was  less  anxious 
than  Don  Teodore,  the  Spaniard. 

When  the  lieutenant  handed  me  an  order  from  the  governor 
of  Sierra  Leone  and  its  dependencies,  authorizing  him  to  burn  or 
destroy  the  property  of  Joseph,  as  well  as  to  arrest  that  person- 
age himself,  I  regretted  that  I  was  unable  to  facilitate  his  patri- 
otic projects,  inasmuch  as  the  felon  was  afloat  on  salt  water,  while 
all  his  property  had  long  before  been  conveyed  to  me  by  a  reg- 
ular bill  of  sale.  In  proof  of  my  assertions,  I  produced  the  in- 
strument and  the  books  ;  and  when  I  brought  in  our  African 
landlord  to  sustain  me  in  every  particular,  the  worthy  lieutenant 
was  forced  to  relinquish  his  hostility  and  accept  an  invitation  to 
dinner.  His  conduct  during  the  whole  investigation  was  that  of 
a  gentleman  ;  which,  I  am  sorry  to  say,  was  not  always  the  case 
with  his  professional  countrymen. 

During  the  rainy  season,  which  begins  in  June  and  lasts  till 
October,  the  stores  of  provisions  in  establishments  along  the 
Atlantic  coast  often  become  sadly  impaired.  The  Foulah  and 
Mandingo  tribes  of  the  interior  are  prevented  by  the  swollen 
condition  of  intervening  streams  from  visiting  the  beach  with 
their  produce.  In  these  straits,  the  factories  have  recourse  by 
canoes  to  the  smaller  rivers,  which  are  neither  entered  by  sea« 
going  vessels,  nor  blockaded  for  the  caravans  of  interior  chiefs. 

Among  the  tribes  or  clans  visited  by  me  in  such  seasons,  I 
do  not  remember  any  whose  intercourse  afforded  more  pleasure, 
or  exhibited  nobler  traits,  than  the  Bagers,  who  dwell  on  the 
solitary  margins  of  these  shallow  rivulets,  and  subsist  by  boiling 
salt  in  the  dry  season  and  making  palm  oil  in  the  wet.  I  have 
never  read  an  account  of  these  worthy  blacks,  whose  civility, 
kindness,  and  honesty  will  compare  favorably  with  those  of  more 
civilized  people. 

The  Bagers  live  very  much  apart  from  the  great  African 
tribes,  and  keep  up  their  race  by  intermarriage.     The  language 


120  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

is  peculiar,  and  altogether  devoid  of  that  Italian  softness  that 
makes  the  Soosoo  so  musical. 

Having  a  week  or  two  of  perfect  leisure,  I  determined  to 
set  out  in  a  canoe  to  visit  one  of  these  establishments,  especially 
as  no  intelligence  had  reached  me  for  some  time  from  one  of  mj 
country  traders  who  had  been  dispatched  thither  with  an  invoice 
of  goods  to  purchase  palm  oil.  My  canoe  was  comfortably  fitted 
with  a  water-proof  awning,  and  provisioned  for  a  week. 

A  tedious  pull  along  the  coast  and  through  the  dangerous 
surf,  brought  us  to  the  narrow  creek  through  whose  marshy 
mesh  of  mangroves  we  squeezed  our  canoe  to  the  bank.  Even 
after  landing,  we  waded  a  considerable  distance  through  marsh 
before  we  reached  the  solid  land.  The  Eager  town  stood  some 
hundred  yards  from  the  landing,  at  the  end  of  a  desolate  savanna, 
whose  lonely  waste  spread  as  far  as  the  eye  could  reach.  The 
village  itself  seemed  quite  deserted,  so  that  I  had  difficulty  in 
finding  "  the  oldest  inhabitant,"  who  invariably  stays  at  home 
and  acts  the  part  of  chieftain.  This  venerable  personage  wel- 
comed me  with  great  cordiality  ;  and,  having  made  my  dantica^ 
or,  in  other  words,  declared  the  purpose  of  my  visit,  I  desired  to 
be  shown  the  trader's  house.  The  patriarch  led  me  at  once  to  a 
hut,  whose  miserable  thatch  was  supported  by  four  posts.  Here 
I  recognized  a  large  chest,  a  rum  cask,  and  the  grass  hammock 
of  my  agent.  I  was  rather  exasperated  to  find  my  property  thus 
neglected  and  exposed,  and  began  venting  my  wrath  in  no  seemly 
terms  on  the  delinquent  clerk,  when  my  conductor  laid  his  hand 
gently  on  my  sleeve,  and  said  there  was  no  need  to  blame  him. 
"  This,"  continued  he,  "is  his  house  ;  here  your  property  is  shel- 
tered from  sun  and  rain  ;  and,  among  the  Bagers,  whenever  3'our 
goods  are  protected  from  the  elements,  they  are  safe  from  every 
danger.  Your  man  has  gone  across  the  plain  to  a  neighboring 
town  for  oil ;  to-night  he  will  be  back ; — in  the  mean  time,  look 
at  your  goods  !  " 

I  opened  the  chest,  which,  to  my  surprise,  was  unlocked, 
and  found  it  nearly  full  of  the  merchandise  I  had  placed  in  it. 
I  shook  the  cask,  and  its  weight  seemed  hardly  diminished.  I 
turned   the    spiggot,    and   lo !    the   rum   trickled   on   my   feet. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  121 

Hard-by  was  a  temporary  shed,  filled  to  the  roof  with  hides  and 
casks  of  palm  oil,  all  of  which,  the  gray-beard  declared  was  my 
property. 

Whilst  making  this  inspection,  I  have  no  doubt  the  expres- 
sion of  my  face  indicated  a  good  deal  of  wonder,  for  I  saw  the 
old  man  smile  complacently  as  he  followed  me  with  his  quiet 
eye. 

"  Grood  !  "  said  the  chief,  "  it  is  all  there, — is  it  not  ?  We 
Bagers  are  neither  Soosoos,  Mandingoes,  Foulahs,  nor  White- 
men,  that  the  goods  of  a  stranger  are  not  safe  in  our  towns ! 
We  work  for  a  living ;  we  want  little ;  big  ships  never  come  to 
us,  and  we  neither  steal  from  our  guests  nor  go  to  war  to  sell  one 
another !  " 

The  conversation,  I  thought,  was  becoming  a  little  personal ; 
and,  with  a  gesture  of  impatience,  I  put  a  stop  to  it.  On  second 
thoughts,  however,  I  turned  abruptly  round,  and  shaking  the 
noble  savage's  hand  with  a  vigor  that  made  him  wince,  presented 
him  with  a  piece  of  cloth.  Had  Diogenes  visited  Africa  in 
search  of  his  man,  it  is  by  no  means  unlikely  that  he  might  have 
extinguished  his  lamp  among  the  Bagers  ! 

It  was  about  two  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  when  I  arrived  in 
the  town,  which,  as  I  before  observed,  seemed  quite  deserted, 
except  by  a  dozen  or  two  ebony  antiquities,  who  crawled  into 
the  sunshine  when  they  learned  the  advent  of  a  stranger.  The 
young  people  were  absent  gathering  palm  nuts  in  a  neighbor- 
iDg  grove.  A  couple  of  hours  before  sundown,  my  trader  re- 
turned ;  and,  shortly  after,  the  merry  gang  of  villagers  made 
their  appearance,  laughing,  singing,  dancing,  and  laden  with 
fruit.  As  soon  as  the  gossips  announced  the  arrival  of  a  white 
man  during  their  absence,  the  little  hut  that  had  been  hospitably 
assigned  me  was  surrounded  by  a  crowd,  five  or  six  deep,  of  men, 
women,  and  children.  The  pressure  was  so  close  and  sudden 
that  I  was  almost  stifled.  Finding  they  would  not  depart  until 
I  made  myself  visible,  I  emerged  from  concealment  and  shook 
hands  with  nearly  all.  The  women,  in  particular,  insisted  on 
gratifying  themselves  with  a  sumboo  or  smell  at  my  face, — which 
6 


122 

is  the  native's  kiss, — and  folded  their  long  black  arms  in  an 
embrace  of  my  neck,  threatening  peril  to  my  shirt  with  their 
oiled  and  dusty  flesh.  However,  I  noticed  so  much  hon- 
hommie  among  the  happy  crew  that  my  heart  would  not  allow 
me  to  repulse  them ;  so  I  kissed  the  youngest  and  shunned  the 
crones.  In  token  of  my  good-will,  I  led  a  dozen  or  more  of 
the  prettiest  to  the  rum-barrel,  and  made  them  happy  for  the 
night. 

When  the  townsfolks  had  comfortably  nestled  themselves  in 
their  hovels,  the  old  chief,  with  a  show  of  some  formality,  pre- 
sented me  a  heavy  ram-goat,  distinguished  for  its  formidable 
head-ornaments,  which,  he  said,  was  offered  as  a  bonne-bouche,  for 
my  supper.  He  then  sent  a  crier  through  the  town,  informing 
the  women  that  a  white  stranger  would  be  their  guest  during 
the  night ;  and,  in  less  than  half  an  hour,  my  hut  was  visited 
by  most  of  the  village  dames  and  damsels.  One  brought  a  pint 
of  rice  ;  another  some  roots  of  cassava ;  another,  a  few  spoons- 
full  of  palm  oil ;  another  a  bunch  of  peppers ;  while  the  oldest 
lady  of  the  party  made  herself  particularly  remarkable  by  the 
gift  of  a  splendid  fowl.  In  fact,  the  crier  had  hardly  gone  his 
rounds,  before  my  mat  was  filled  with  the  voluntary  contributions 
of  the  villagers ;  and  the  wants,  not  only  of  myself  but  of  my 
eight  rowers,  completely  supplied. 

There  was  nothing  peculiar  in  this  exhibition  of  hospitality, 
on  account  of  my  nationality.  It  was  the  mere  fulfilment  of  a 
Eager  law  ;  and  the  poorest  black  stranger  would  have  shared 
the  rite  as  well  as  myself  I  could  not  help  thinking  that  I 
might  have  travelled  from  one  end  of  England  or  America  to  the 
other,  without  meeting  a  Eager  welcome.  Indeed,  it  seemed 
somewhat  questionable,  whether  it  were  better  for  the  English  to 
civilize  Africa,  or  for  the  Bagers  to  send  missionaries  to  their 
brethren  in  Britain ! 

These  reflections,  however,  did  not  spoil  my  appetite,  for  I 
confess  a  feeling  of  unusual  content  and  relish  when  the  patriarch 
sat  down  with  me  before  the  covered  bowls  prepared  for  our  sup- 
per. But,  alas  !  for  human  hopes  and  tastes  !  As  I  lifted  the 
lid  from  the  vessel  containing  the  steaming  stew,  its  powerful 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  123 

fragrance  announced  the  remains  of  that  venerable  quadruped 
with  which  I  had  been  welcomed.  It  was  probably  not  quite  in 
etiquette  among  the  Bagers  to  decline  the  stew,  yet,  had  starva- 
tion depended  on  it,  I  could  not  have  touched  a  morsel.  Ac- 
cordingly, I  forbore  the  mess  and  made  free  with  the  rice,  sea- 
soning it  well  with  salt  and  peppers.  But  my  amiable  landlord 
was  resolved  that  I  should  not  go  to  rest  with  such  penitential 
fare,  and  ordered  one  of  his  wives  to  bring  her  supper  to  my 
lodge.  A  taste  of  the  dish  satisfied  me  that  it  was  edible, 
though  intensely  peppered.  I  ate  with  the  appetite  of  an  alder- 
man, nor  was  it  till  two  days  after  that  my  trader  informed 
me  I  had  supped  so  heartily  on  the  spareribs  of  an  alligator  ! 
It  was  well  that  the  hours  of  digestion  had  gone  by,  for  though 
partial  to  the  chase,  I  had  never  loved  "  water  fowl  "  of  so  wild 
a  character. 

When  supper  was  over,  I  escaped  from  the  hut  to  breathe  a 
little  fresh  air  before  retiring  for  the  night.  Hardly  had  I  put 
my  head  outside  when  I  found  myself  literally  inhaling  the  mos- 
quitoes that  swarmed  at  nightfall  over  these  marshy  flats.  I 
took  it  for  granted  that  there  was  to  be  no  rest  for  me  in  dark- 
ness among  the  Bagers ;  but,  when  I  mentioned  my  trouble  to 
the  chief,  he  told  me  that  another  hut  had  already  been  provided 
for  my  sleeping  quarters,  where  my  bed  was  made  of  certain 
green  and  odorous  leaves  which  are  antidotes  to  mosquitoes. 
After  a  little  more  chat,  he  offered  to  guide  me  to  the  hovel,  a 
low,  thickly  matted  bower,  through  whose  single  aperture  I 
crawled  on  hands  and  knees.  As  soon  as  I  was  in,  the  entrance 
was  closed,  and  although  I  felt  very  much  as  if  packed  in  my 
grave,  I  slept  an  unbroken  sleep  till  day  dawn.* 

*  These  Bagers  are  remarkable  for  their  honesty,  as  I  was  convinced 
by  several  anecdotes  related,  during  my  stay  in  this  village,  by  my  trading 
clerk.  He  took  me  to  a  neighboring  lemon-tree,  and  exhibited  an  English 
brass  steelyard  hanging  on  its  branches,  which  had  been  left  there  by  a 
mulatto  merchant  from  Sierra  Leone,  who  died  in  the  town  on  a  trading 
trip.  This  article,  with  a  chest  half  full  of  goods,  deposited  in  the  "  pala- 
ver house,"  had  been  kept  securely  more  than  twelve  years  in  expectation 
that  some  of  his  friends  would  send  for  them  from  the  colony.    The  Bagers, 


124  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

My  return  to  the  Eio  Pongo  was  attended  with  consider- 
able danger,  yet  I  did  not  regret  the  trial  of  my  spirit,  as  it 
enabled  me  to  see  a  phase  of  African  character  which  otherwise 
might  have  been  missed. 

After  passing  two  days  among  the  Bagers,  I  departed  once 
more  in  my  canoe,  impelled  by  the  stout  muscles  of  the  Kroo- 
men.  The  breeze  freshened  as  we  passed  from  the  river's  mouth 
across  the  boiling  surf  of  the  bar,  but,  when  we  got  fairly  to  sea, 
I  found  the  Atlantic  so  vexed  by  the  rising  gale,  that,  in  spite 
of  waterproof  awning  and  diligent  bailing,  we  were  several  times 
near  destruction.  Still,  I  had  great  confidence  in  the  native 
boatmen,  whose  skill  in  their  skiffs  is  quite  as  great  as  their 
dexterity  when  naked  in  the  water.  I  had  often  witnessed  their 
agility  as  they  escaped  from  capsized  boats  on  the  surf  of  our  bar  ; 
and  often  had  I  rewarded  them  with  a  dram,  when  they  came, 
as  from  a  frolic,  dripping  and  laughing  to  the  beach. 

When  night  began  to  fall  around  us  the  storm  increased,  and 

I  was  told,  have  nojujus,  feitiches,  or  gregrees ; — they  worship  no  god  or 
evil  spirit ; — their  dead  are  buried  without  tears  or  ceremony ; — and  their 
hereafter  is  eternal  oblivion. 

The  males  of  this  tribe  are  of  middling  size  and  deep  black  color ;  broad 
shouldered,  but  neither  brave  nor  warlike.  They  keep  aloof  from  other 
tribes,  and  by  a  Fullah  law,  are  protected  from  foreign  violence  in  con 
sequence  of  their  occupation  as  salt-makers,  which  is  regarded  by  the  in- 
terior natives  as  one  of  the  most  useful  trades.  Their  fondness  for  palm 
oil  and  the  little  work  they  are  compelled  to  perform,  make  them  general- 
ly indolent.  Their  dress  is  a  single  handkerchief,  or  a  strip  of  country 
cloth  four  or  five  inches  wide,  most  carefully  put  on. 

The  young  women  have  none  of  the  sylphlike  appearance  of  the  Man- 
dingoes  or  Soosoos.  They  work  hard  and  use  palm  oil  plentifully  both  in- 
ternally and  externally,  so  that  their  relaxed  flesh  is  bloated  like  blubber. 
Both  sexes  shave  their  heads,  and  adorn  their  noses  and  lower  lips  with 
rings,  while  they  penetrate  their  ears  with  porcupine  quills  or  sticks. 
They  neither  sell  nor  buy  each  other,  though  they  acquire  children  of  both 
sexes  from  other  tribes,  and  adopt  them  into  their  own,  or  dispose  of  them 
if  not  suitable.  Their  avails  of  work  are  commonly  divided  ;  so  the  Bagers 
may  be  said  to  resemble  the  Mormons  in  polygamy,  the  Fourierites  in  com- 
munity, but  to  exceed  both  in  honesty  ! 

I  am  sorry  that  their  nobler  characteristics  have  so  few  imitators  among 
the  other  tribes  of  Africa. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  125 

I  could  detect,  by  the  low  chatter  and  anxious  looks  of  the 
rowers,  that  they  were  alarmed.  As  far  as  my  eye  reached 
landward,  I  could  descry  nothing  but  a  continuous  reef  on  which 
the  chafed  sea  was  dashing  furiously  in  columns  of  the  densest 
spray.  Of  course  I  felt  that  it  was  not  my  duty,  nor  would  it 
be  prudent,  to  undertake  the  guidance  of  the  canoe  in  such  cir- 
cumstances. Yet,  I  confess  that  a  shudder  ran  through  my 
nerves  when  I  saw  my  "headman  "  suddenly  change  our  course 
and  steer  the  skiff  directly  towards  the  rocks.  On  she  bounded 
like  a  racer.  The  sea  through  which  they  urged  her  foamed  like 
a  caldron  with  the  rebounding  surf  Nothing  but  wave-lashed 
rock  was  before  us.  At  last  I  could  detect  a  narrow  gap  in  the 
iron  wall,  which  was  filled  with  surges  in  the  heaviest  swells. 
We  approached  it,  and  paused  at  the  distance  of  fifty  feet.  A 
wave  had  just  burst  through  the  chasm  like  a  storming  army. 
We  waited  for  the  succeeding  lull.  All  hands  laid  still, — not  a 
word  was  spoken  or  paddle  dipped.  Then  came  the  next  enor- 
mous swell  under  our  stern  ; — the  oars  flew  like  lightning ; — the 
canoe  rose  as  a  feather  on  the  crest  of  the  surf; — in  a  moment 
she  shot  through  the  cleft  and  reposed  in  smooth  water  near  the 
shore.  As  we  sped  through  the  gap,  I  might  have  touched  the 
rocks  on  both  sides  with  my  extended  arms ! 
Such  is  the  skill  and  daring  of  Kroomen. 


126  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 


CHAPTEK    XV. 

When  the  rains  began  to  slacken,  a  petty  caravan  now  and  then 
straggled  towards  the  coast ;  but,  as  I  was  only  a  new-comer  in 
the  region,  and  not  possessed  of  abundant  means,  I  enjoyed  a 
slender  share  of  the  trade.  Still  I  consoled  myself  with  the  hope 
of  better  luck  in  the  dry  season. 

Jn  the  mean  time,  however,  I  not  only  heard  of  Joseph's  safe 
arrival  at  Matanzas,  but  received  a  clerk  whom  he  dispatched  to 
dwell  in  Kambia  while  I  visited  the  interior.  Moreover,  I  built 
a  boat,  and  sent  her  to  Sierra  Leone  with  a  cargo  of  palm  oil,  to 
be  exchanged  for  British  goods;  and,  finally,  during  my  perfect 
leisure,  I  went  to  work  with  diligence  to  study  the  trade  in  which 
fortune  seemed  to  have  cast  my  lot. 

It  would  be  a  task  of  many  pages  if  I  attempted  to  give  a 
full  account  of  the  origin  and  causes  of  slavery  in  Africa.  As 
a  national  institution,  it  seems  to  have  existed  always.  Africans 
have  been  bondsmen  every  where  :  and  the  oldest  monuments  bear 
their  images  linked  with  menial  toils  and  absolute  servitude. 
Still,  I  have  no  hesitation  in  saying,  that  three  fourths  of  the 
slaves  &ent  abroad  from  Africa  are  the  fruit  of  native  wars, 
fomented  by  the  avarice  and  temptation  of  our  own  race.  I 
cannot  exculpate  any  commercial  nation  from  this  sweeping 
censure.  We  stimulate  the  negro's  passions  by  the  introduction 
of  wants  and  fancies  never  dreamed  of   by  the  simple  native, 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  127 

while  slavery  was  an  institution  of  domestic  need  and  comfort 
alone.  But  what  was  once  a  luxury  has  now  ripened  into  an 
absolute  necessity;  so  that  man,  z/i  truth ^  has  become  the  coin 
of  Africa^  and  the  "  legal  tender  "  of  a  brutal  trade. 

England,  to-day,  with  all  her  philanthropy,  sends,  under  the 
cross  of  St.  George,  to  convenient  magazines  of  laivful  commerce 
on  the  coast,  her  Birmingham  muskets,  Manchester  cottons,  and 
Liverpool  lead,  all  of  which  are  righteously  swapped  at  Sierra 
Leone,  Acra,  and  on  the  Gold  coast,  for  Spanish  or  Brazilian 
bills  on  London.  Yet,  what  British  merchant  does  not  know 
the  trafl&c  on  which  those  bills  are  founded,  and  for  whose  sup- 
port his  wares  are  purchased  ?  France,  with  her  bonnet  rouge 
and  fraternity,  dispatches  her  Bouen  cottons,  Marseilles  brandies, 
flimsy  taffetas,  and  indescribable  variety  of  tinsel  gewgaws. 
Philosophic  Germany  demands  a  slice  for  her  looking-glasses  and 
beads  ;  while  multitudes  of  our  own  worthy  traders,  who  would 
hang  a  slaver  as  a  pirate  wJien  caught^  do  not  hesitate  to  supply 
him  indirectly  with  tobacco,  powder,  cotton,  Yankee  rum,  and 
New  England  notions,  in  order  to  bait  the  trap  in  which  he  tnay 
be  caught  '  It  is  the  temptation  of  these  things,  I  repeat,  that 
feeds  the  slave-making  wars  of  Africa,  and  forms  the  human 
basis  of  those  admirable  bills  of  exchange. 

I  did  not  intend  to  write  a  homily  on  Ethiopian  commerce 
when  I  begun  this  chapter;  but,  on  reviewing  the  substantial 
motives  of  the  traffic,  I  could  not  escape  a  statement  which  tells 
its  own  tale,  and  is  as  unquestionable  as  the  facts  of  verified  his- 
tory. 

Such,  then,  may  be  said  to  be  the  predominating  influence 
that  supports  the  African  slave  trade ;  yet,  if  commerce  of  all 
kinds  were  forbidden  with  that  continent,  the  customs  and  laws 
of  the  natives  would  still  encourage  slavery  as  a  domestic  affair, 
though,  of  course,  in  a  very  modified  degree.  The  rancorous 
family  quarrels  among  tribes  and  parts  of  tribes,  will  always 
promote  conflicts  that  resemble  the  forays  of  our  feudal  an- 
cestors, while  the  captives  made  therein  will  invariably  become 
serfs. 

Besides  this,  the  financial  genius  of  Africa,  instead  of  devising 


12S  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

bank  notes  or  the  precious  metals  as  a  circulating  medium,  has 
from  time  immemorial,  declared  that  a  human  creature, — the  true 
representative  and  embodiment  of  labor, — is  the  most  valuable 
article  on  earth.  A  man,  therefore,  becomes  the  standard  of 
prices.  A  slave  is  a  note  of  hand,  that  may  be  discounted  or 
pawned ;  he  is  a  bill  of  exchange  that  carries  himself  to  his  desti- 
nation and  pays  a  debt  bodily ;  he  is  a  tax  that  walks  corporeally 
into  the  chieftain's  treasury.  Thus,  slavery  is  not  likely  to  be 
surrendered  by  the  negroes  themselves  as  a  national  institution. 
Their  social  interests  will  continue  to  maintain  hereditary  bon- 
dage ;  they  will  send  the  felon  and  the  captive  to  foreign  barra- 
coons ;  and  they  will  sentence  to  domestic  servitude  the  orphans 
of  culprits,  disorderly  children,  gamblers,  witches,  vagrants, 
cripples,  insolvents,  the  deaf,  the  mute,  the  barren,  and  the 
faithless.     Five-sixths  of  the  population  is  in  chains.^ 

To  facilitate  the  sale  of  these  various  unfortunates  or  male- 
factors, there  exists  among  the  Africans  a  numerous  class  of  bro- 
kers, who  are  as  skilful  in  their  traffic  as  the  jockeys  of  civilized 
lands.  These  adroit  scoundrels  rove  the  country  in  search  of 
objects  to  suit  different  patrons.  They  supply  the  body-guard  of 
princes  ;  procure  especial  tribes  for  personal  attendants  ;  furnish 
laborers  for  farms ;  fill  the  harems  of  debauchees ;  pay  or  collect 
debts  in  flesh ;  and  in  cases  of  emergency  take  the  place  of 
bailiffs,  to  kidnap  under  the  name  of  sequestration.  If  a  native 
king  lacks  cloth,  arms,  powder,  balls,  tobacco,  rum,  or  salt,  and 
does  not  trade  personally  with  the  factories  on  the  beach,  he 
employs  one  of  these  dexterous  gentry  to  effect  the  barter;  and 
thus  both  British  cotton  and  Yankee  rum  ascend  the  rivers  from 
the  second  hands  into  which  they  have  passed,  while  the  slave 
approaches  the  coast  to  become  the  ebony  basis  of  a  bill  of  ex- 
change ! 

It  has  sometimes  struck  me  as  odd,  how  the  extremes  of  so- 
ciety almost  meet  on  similar  principles  ;  and  how  much  some 
African  shortcomings  resemble  the  conceded  civilizations  of  other 
lands ! 

1  Dr.  Lugenbeel's  "Sketches  of  Libena.":  1853.  p.  45,  2d  ed. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  129 


CHAPTER   XVI. 

The  month  of  November,  1827,  brought  the  wished-for  "dry 
season ;  "  and  with  it  came  a  message  from  the  leader  of  a  cara- 
van, that,  at  the  full  of  the  moon,  he  would  halt  in  my  village 
with  all  the  produce  he  could  impress.  The  runner  represented 
his  master  as  bearing  a  missive  from  his  beloved  nephew  Amah- 
de-Bellah,  and  declared  that  he  only  lingered  on  the  path  to  swell 
his  caravan  for  the  profit  of  my  cofi"ers. 

I  did  not  let  the  day  pass  before  I  sent  an  interpreter  to  greet 
my  promised  guest  with  suitable  presents ;  while  I  took  advan- 
tage of  his  delay  to  build  a  neat  cottage  for  his  reception,  inas- 
much as  no  Fullah  Mahometan  will  abide  beneath  the  same  roof 
with  an  infidel.  I  furnished  the  establishment,  according  to  their 
taste,  with  green  hides  and  several  fresh  mats. 

True  to  his  word,  Mami-de-Yong  made  known  his  arrival  in 
my  neighborhood  on  the  day  when  the  planet  attained  its  full 
diameter.  The  moment  the  pious  Mussulman,  from  the  high 
hills  in  the  rear  of  my  settlement,  espied  the  river  winding  to  the 
sea,  he  turned  to  the  east,  and  raising  his  arms  to  heaven,  and 
extending  them  towards  Mecca,  gave  thanks  for  his  safe  arrival 
on  the  beach.  After  repeated  genuflections,  in  which  the  earth 
was  touched  by  his  prostrate  forehead,  he  arose,  and  taking 
the  path  towards  Kambia,  struck  up  a  loud  chant  in  honor  of 
the  prophet,  in  which  he  was  joined  by  the  interminable  pro- 
cession. 

6* 


ISO  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

It  was  quite  an  imposing  sight — this  Oriental  parade  and 
barbaric  pomp.  My  native  landlord,  proud  of  the  occasion,  as 
well  as  of  his  Mahometan  progenitors,  joined  in  the  display.  As 
the  train  approached  my  establishment,  I  ordered  repeated  salutes 
in  honor  of  the  stranger,  and  as  I  had  no  minstrels  or  music  to 
welcome  the  Fullah,  I  commanded  my  master  of  ceremonies  to 
conceal  the  deficiency  by  plenty  of  smoke  and  a  dozen  more 
rounds  of  rattling  musketry. 

This  was  the  first  caravan  and  the  first  leader  of  absolutely 
royal  pretensions  that  visited  my  settlement ;  so  I  lined  my 
piazza  with  mats,  put  a  body-guard  under  arms  behind  me,  deco- 
rated the  front  with  fancy  flags,  and  opposite  the  stool  where  I 
took  my  seat,  caused  a  pure  white  sheepskin  of  finest  wool 
to  be  spread  for  the  accommodation  of  the  noble  savage.  Ad- 
vancing to  the  steps  of  my  dwelling,  I  stood  uncovered  as  the 
Fullah  approached  and  tendered  me  a  silver-mounted  gazelle- 
horn  snuff-box — the  credential  by  which  Amah-de-Bellah  had 
agreed  to  certify  the  mission.  Receiving  the  token  with  a  salaam^ 
I  carried  it  reverently  to  my  forehead,  and  passed  it  to  Ali- 
Ninpha,  who,  on  this  occasion,  played  the  part  of  my  scribe. 
The  ceremony  over,  we  took  him  by  the  hands  and  led  him  to 
his  allotted  sheepskin,  while,  with  a  bow,  I  returned  to  my  stool. 

According  to  *'  country  custom,"  Mami-de-Yong  then  began 
the  dantica^  or  exposition  of  purposes,  first  of  all  invoking 
Allah  to  witness  his  honor  and  sincerity.  "  Not  only,"  said 
the  Mussulman,  "  am  I  the  bearer  of  a  greeting  from  my  dear 
nephew  Amah-de-Bellah,  but  I  am  an  envoy  from  my  royal  mas- 
ter the  Ali-mami,  of  Footha-Yallon,  who,  at  his  son's  desire,  has 
sent  me  with  an  escort  to  conduct  you  on  your  promised  visit  to 
Timbo.  During  your  absence,  my  lord  has  commanded  us  to 
dwell  in  your  stead  at  Kambia,  so  that  your  property  may  be 
safe  from  the  Mulatto  Mongo  of  Bangalang,  whose  malice 
towards  your  person  has  been  heard  of  even  among  our  distant 
hills  ! " 

The  latter  portion  of  this  message  somewhat  surprised  me, 
for  though  my  relations  with  Mongo  John  were  by  no  means 
amicable,  I  did  not  imagine  that  the  story  of  our  rupture  had 
spread  so  far,  or  been  received  with  so  much  sympathy. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  131 

Accordingly,  when  Mami-de-Yong  finished  his  message,  I  ap- 
proached him  with  thanks  for  his  master's  interest  in  my  wel- 
fare ;  and,  placing  Amah-de-Bellah's  Koran — which  I  had  pre- 
viously wrapped  in  a  white  napkin — in  his  hands,  as  a  token  of 
the  nephew's  friendship,  I  retired  once  more  to  my  seat.  As 
soon  as  the  holy  book  appeared  from  the  folds,  Mami-de-Yong 
drew  a  breath  of  surprise,  and  striking  his  breast,  fell  on  his 
knees  with  his  head  on  the  ground,  where  he  remained  for  seve- 
ral minutes  apparently  in  rapt  devotion.  •  As  he  rose — his  fore- 
head sprinkled  with  dust,  and  his  eyes  sparkling  with  tears — he 
opened  the  volume,  and  pointed  out  to  me  and  his  people  his 
own  handwriting,  which  he  translated  to  signify  that  "  Mami-de- 
Yong  gave  this  word  of  God  to  Amah-de-Bellah,  his  kinsman." 
At  the  reading  of  the  sentence,  all  the  Fullahs  shouted,  "  Glory 
to  Allah  and  Mahomet  his  Prophet !  "  Then,  coming  forward 
again  to  the  chief,  I  laid  my  hand  on  the  Koran,  and  swore  by 
the  help  of  God,  to  accept  the  invitation  of  the  great  king  of 
Footha-Yallon. 

This  terminated  the  ceremonial  reception,  after  which  I  has- 
tened to  conduct  Mami-de-Yong  to  his  quarters,  where  I  pre- 
sented him  with  a  sparkling  new  kettle  and  an  inkstand,  letting 
him  understand,  moreover,  I  was  specially  anxious  to  know  that 
all  the  wants  of  his  attendants  in  the  caravan  were  completely 
satisfied. 

Next  morning  early,  I  remembered  the  joy  of  his  nephew 
Amah-de-Bellah,  when  I  first  treated  him  to  coffee;  and  deter- 
mined to  welcome  the  chief,  as  soon  as  he  came  forth  from  his 
ablutions  to  prayers,  with  a  cup  distilled  from  the  fragrant  berry. 
I  could  not  have  hit  upon  a  luxury  more  gratifying  to  the  old 
gentleman.  Thirty  years  before  had  he  drank  it  in  Timbuctoo, 
where  it  is  used,  he  said,  by  the  Moses-people  (meaning  the  He- 
brews), with  milk  and  honey;  and  its  delicous  aroma  brought  the 
well-remembered  taste  to  his  lips  ere  they  touched  the  sable  fluid. 

Long  before  Mami-de-Yong's  arrival,  his  fame  as  a  learned 
"  book-man  "  and  extensive  traveller  preceded  him,  so  that  when 
he  mentioned  his  travel  to  Timbuctoo,  I  begged  him  to  give  me 
some  account  of  that  ''  capital  of  capitals,"  as  the  Africans  call 


132  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

it.  The  royal  messenger  promised  to  comply  as  soon  as  he  fin- 
ished* the  morning  lessons  of  the  caravan's  children.  His  quar- 
ters were  filled  with  a  dozen  or  more  of  young  Fullahs  and 
Mandingoes  squatted  around  a  fire,  while  the  prince  sat  apart 
in  a  corner  with  inkstand,  writing  reeds,  and  a  pile  of  old  manu- 
scripts. Ali-Ninpha,  our  backsliding  Mahometan,  stood  by,  pre- 
tending devoted  attention  to  Mami's  precepts  and  the  Prophet's 
verses.  The  sinner  was  a  scrupulous  follower  in  the  presence  of 
the  faithful;  but  when  their  backs  were  turned,  I  know  few 
who  relished  a  porker  more  lusciously,  or  avoided  water  with 
more  scrupulous  care.  Yet  why  should  I  scofi"  at  poor  Ali  ?  Jo- 
seph and  I  had  done  our  best  to  civilize  him  ! 

Mami-de-Yong  apologized  for  the  completion  of  his  daily  task 
in  my  presence,  and  went  on  with  his  instruction,  while  the 
pupils  wrote  down  notes,  on  wooden  slabs,  with  reeds  and  a  fluid 
made  of  powder  dissolved  in  water. 

I  am  sorry  to  say  that  these  Ethiopian  Mahometans  are  but 
poor  scholars.  Their  entire  instruction  amounts  to  little  more 
than  the  Koran,  and  when  they  happen  to  write  or  receive  a 
letter,  its  interpretation  is  a  matter  over  which  many  an  hour  is 
toilsomely  spent.  Mami-de-Yong,  however,  was  superior  to  most 
of  his  countrymen ;  and,  in  fact,  I  must  record  him  in  my  nar- 
rative as  the  most  erudite  Negro  I  ever  encountered. 


HIS    TRIP    TO    TIMBUCTOO. 

True  to  his  promise,  the  envoy  came  to  my  piazza,  as  soon  as 
school  was  over,  and  squatting  sociably  on  our  mats  and  sheep- 
skins, with  a  plentiful  supply  of  pipes  and  tobacco,  we  formed 
as  pleasant  a  little  party  as  was  assembled  that  day  on  the  banks 
of  the  Rio  Pongo.  Ali-Ninpha  acted  as  interpreter,  having  pre- 
pared himself  for  the  long-winded  task  by  a  preliminary  dram 
from  my  private  locker,  out  of  sight  of  the  noble  Mahometan. 

Invoking  the  Lord's  name, — as  is  usual  among  Mussulmen, 
- — Mami-de-Yong  took  a  long  whiff  at  his  pipe,  and,  receiving 
from  his  servant  a  small  bag  of  fine  sand,  spread  it  smoothly 
on   the  floor,  leaving  the  mass  about   a  quarter  of  an  inch  in 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  133 

thickness.  This  was  his  black-board,  designed  to  serve  for 
the  delineation  of  his  journey.  On  the  -westernmost  margin  of 
his  sand,  he  dotted  a  point  with  his  finger  for  the  starting  at 
Timbo.  As  he  proceeded  with  his  track  over  Africa  towards 
the  grand  capital,  he  marked  the  outlines  of  the  principal  terri- 
tories, and  spotted  the  remarkable  towns  through  which  he 
passed.  By  a  thick  or  thin  line,  he  denoted  the  large  rivers  and 
small  streams  that  intercepted  his  path,  while  he  heaved  up  the 
sand  into  heaps  to  represent  a  mountain,  or  smoothed  it  into  per- 
fect levels  to  imitate  the  broad  prairies  and  savannas  of  the  in- 
terior. When  he  came  to  a  dense  forest,  his  snuff-box  was 
called  in  requisition,  and  a  pinch  or  two  judiciously  sprinkled, 
stood  for  the  monarchs  of  the  wood. 

Like  all  Oriental  story-tellers,  Mami  proved  rather  prolix. 
His  tale  was  nearly  as  long  as  his  travel.  He  insisted  on  de- 
scribing his  reception  at  every  village.  At  each  river  he  had  his 
story  of  difficulty  and  danger  in  constructing  rafts  or  building 
bridges.  He  counted  the  minutes  he  lost  in  awaiting  the  diminu- 
tion of  floods.  Anon,  he  would  catalogue  the  various  fish  with 
which  a  famous  river  teemed;  and,  when  he  got  fairly  into  the 
woods,  there  was  no  end  of  adventures  and  hairbreadth  escapes 
from  alligators,  elephants,  anacondas,  vipers,  and  the  fatal  tape 
snake,  whose  bite  is  certain  death.  In  the  mountains  he  encoun- 
tered wolves,  wild-asses,  hyaenas,  zebras,  and  eagles. 

In  fact,  the  whole  morning  glided  away  with  a  geographical, 
zoological,  and  statistical  overture  to  his  tour ;  so  that,  when 
the  hour  of  prayer  and  ablution  arrived,  Mami-de-Yong  had 
not  yet  reached  Tirabuctoo  !  The  double  rite  of  cleanliness  and 
faith  required  him  to  pause  in  his  narrative;  and,  apologizing 
for  the  interruption,  he  left  a  slave  to  guard  the  map  while  he 
retired  to  perform  his  religious  services. 

When  the  noble  FuUah  got  back,  I  had  a  nice  lunch  prepared 
on  a  napkin  in  the  neighborhood  of  his  diagram,  so  that  he  could 
munch  his  biscuits  and  sugar  without  halting  on  his  path.  Before 
he  began,  however,  I  took  the  liberty  to  ofi'er  a  hint  about  the 
precious  value  of  time  in  this  brief  life  of  ours,  whilst  I  asked 
a  question  or  two  about  the  "  capital  of  capitals,"  to  indicate 


134  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

my  eagerness  to  enter  the  walls  of  Timbuctoo.  Mami-de-Yong, 
who  was  a  man  of  tact  as  well  as  humor,  smiled  at  my  insinua- 
tion, and  apologizing  like  a  Christian  for  the  natural  tediousness 
of  all  old  travellers,  skipped  a  degree  or  two  of  the  wilderness, 
and  at  once  stuck  his  buffalo-horn  snuff-box  into  the  eastern 
margin  of  the  sand,  to  indicate  that  he  was  at  his  journey's  end. 
Mami  had  visited  many  of  the  European  colonies  and  Moor- 
ish kingdoms  on  the  north  coast  of  Africa,  so  that  he  enjoyed 
the  advantage  of  comparison,  and,  of  course,  was  not  stupefied 
by  the  untravelled  ignorance  of  Africans  who  consider  Timbuctoo 
a  combination  of  Paris  and  paradise.  Indeed,  he  did  not  pre- 
sume, like  most  of  the  Mandingo  chiefs,  to  prefer  it  to  Senegal 
or  Sierra  Leone.  He  confessed  that  the  royal  palace  was  nothing 
but  a  vast  inclosure  of  mud  walls,  built  without  taste  •f  sym- 
metry, within  whose  labyrinthine  mesh  there  were  numerous 
buildings  for  the  wives,  children,  and  kindred  of  the  sovereign. 
If  the  royal  palace  of  Timbuctoo  was  of  such  a  character, 
— "  What,"  said  he,  "  were  the  dwellings  of  nobles  and  towns- 
folk ?  "  The  streets  were  paths; — the  stores  were  shops  ; — the 
suburb  of  an  European  colony  was  superior  to  their  best  display  ! 
The  markets  of  Timbuctoo,  alone,  secured  his  admiration.  Every 
week  they  were  thronged  with  traders,  dealers,  peddlers  and 
merchants,  who  either  dwelt  in  the  neighboring  kingdoms,  or 
came  from  afar  with  slaves  and  produce.  Moors  and  Israelites, 
from  the  northeast,  were  the  most  eminent  and  opulent  mer- 
chants ;  and  among  them  he  counted  a  travelling  class,  crowned 
with  peculiar  turbans,  whom  he  called  "  Joseph'speople,"  or,  in 
all  likelihood,  Armenians. 

The  prince  had  no  mercy  on  the  government  of  this  influen- 
tial realm.  Strangers,  he  said,  were  watched  and  taxed.  In- 
deed, he  spoke  of  it  with  the  peculiar  love  that  we  would  suppose 
a  Hungarian  might  bear  towards  Austria,  or  a  Milanese  to 
the  inquisitorial  powers  of  Lombardy.  In  fact,  I  found  that, 
despite  of  its  architectural  meanness,  Timbuctoo  was  a  great 
central  mart  for  exchange,  and  that  commercial  men  as  well  as 
the  innumerable  petty  kings,  frequented  it  not  only  for  the 
abundant  mineral  salt  in  its  vicinity,  but  because  they  could  ex- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  135 

change  their  slaves  for  foreign  merchandise.  I  asked  the  Ful- 
lah  why  he  preferred  the  markets  of  Timbuctoo  to  the  well-stock- 
ed stores  of  regular  European  settlements  on  a  coast  which  was 
reached  with  so  much  more  ease  than  this  core  of  Africa? 
"  Ah  !  "  said  the  astute  trafficker,  "  no  market  is  a  good  one  for 
the  genuine  African,  in  which  he  cannot  openly  exchange  his 
blacks  for  whatever  the  original  owner  or  importer  can  sell  with- 
out fear  !     Slaves,  Don  Teodwe,  are  our  money !  " 

The  answer  solved  in  my  mind  one  of  the  political  problems 
in  the  question  of  African  civilization,  which  I  shall  probably  de- 
velope  in  the  course  of  this  narrative. 


136  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 


CHAPTER    XVII. 

Having  completed  the  mercantile  negotiations  of  the  caravan, 
and  made  my  personal  arrangements  for  a  protracted  absence,  I 
put  the  noble  Fullah  in  charge  of  my  establishment,  with  special 
charges  to  my  retainers,  clerks,  runners,  and  villagers,  to  regard 
the  Marai  as  my  second  self  I  thought  it  well,  moreover,  be- 
fore I  plunged  into  the  wilderness, — leaving  my  worldly  goods 
and  worldly  prospects  in  charge  of  a  Mussulman  stranger, — to 
row  down  to  Bangalang  for  a  parting  chat  with  Mongo  John, 
in  which  I  might  sound  the  veteran  as  to  his  feeling  and  projects. 
Ormond  was  in  trouble  as  soon  as  I  appeared.  He  was  willing 
enough  that  I  might  perish  by  treachery  on  the  road  side,  yet  he 
he  was  extremely  reluctant  that  I  should  penetrate  Africa  and 
make  alliances  which  should  give  me  superiority  over  the  mono- 
polists of  the  beach.  I  saw  these  things  passing  through  bis  jeal- 
ous heart  as  we  talked  together  with  uncordial  civility.  At  part- 
ing I  told  the  Mongo,  for  the  first  time,  that  I  was  sure  my  es- 
tablishment would  not  go  to  decay  or  suffer  harm  in  my  absence, 
inasmuch  as  that  powerful  Fullah,  the  Ali-Mami  of  Footha-Yallon 
had  deputed  a  lieutenant  to  watch  Kamba  while  I  travelled, 
and  that  he  would  occupy  my  village  with  his  chosen  warriors. 
The  mulatto  started  with  surprise  as  I  finished,  and  abruptly  left 
the  apartment  in  silence. 

I   slept  well  that  night,  notwithstanding  the   Mongo's  dis- 
pleasure.    My  confidence  in  the  Fullah  was  perfect.     Stranger 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFEICAN    SLAVER.  137 

as  he  was,  I  had  an  instinctive  reliance  on  his  protection  of  my 
home,  and  his  guardianship  of  my  person  through  the  wilder- 
ness. 

At  day-dawn  I  was  up.  It  was  a  fresh  and  glorious  morning. 
As  nature  awoke  in  the  woods  of  that  primitive  world,  the  mists 
stole  off  from  the  surface  of  the  water ;  and,  as  the  first  rays 
shot  through  the  glistening  dew  of  the  prodigious  vegetation,  a 
thousand  birds  sent  forth  their  songs  as  if  to  welcome  me  into 
their  realm  of  unknown  paths. 

After  a  hearty  breakfast  my  Spanish  clerk  was  furnished  with 
minute  instructions  in  writing,  and,  at  the  last  moment,  I  pre- 
sented the  Fullah  chief  to  my  people  as  a  temporary  master  to 
whom  they  were  to  pay  implicit  obedience  for  his  generous 
protection.  By  ten  o'clock,  my  caravan  was  in  motion.  It  con- 
sisted of  thirty  individuals  deputed  by  Amah-de-Bellah,  headed 
by  one  of  his  relations  as  captain.  Ten  of  my  own  servants 
were  assigned  to  carry  baggage,  merchandise,  and  provisions; 
while  Ali-Niupha,  two  interpreters,  my  body  servant,  a  waiter,  and 
a  hunter,  composed  my  immediate  guard.  In  all,  there  were 
about  forty-five  persons. 

When  we  were  starting,  Mami-de-Yong  approached  to  "  snap 
fingers,"  and  put  in  my  hands  a  verse  of  the  Koran  in  his  mas- 
ter's handwriting, — "  hospitality  to  the  wearied  stranger  is  the 
road  to  heaven," — which  was  to  serve  me  as  a  passport  among  all 
good  Mahometans.  If  I  had  time,  no  doubt  I  would  have 
thought  how  much  more  Christian  this  document  was  than  the 
formal  paper  with  which  we  are  fortified  by  "  foreign  ojQSces  " 
and  "  state  departments,"  when  we  go  abroad  from  civilized 
lands ; — but,  before  I  could  summon  so  much  sentiment,  the 
Fullah  chief  stooped  to  the  earth,  and  filling  his  hands  with  dust, 
sprinkled  it  over  our  heads,  in  token  of  a  prosperous  journey. 
Then,  prostrating  himself  with  his  head  on  the  ground,  he  bade 
us  "  go  our  way  !  " 

I 'believe  I  have  already  said  that  even  the  best  of  African 
roads  are  no  better  than  goat-paths,  and  barely  sufficient  for  the 
j)assage  of  a  single  traveller.  Accordingly,  our  train  marched 
off  in  single  file.     Two  men,  cutlass  in  hand,  armed,  besides,  with 


138  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

loaded  muskets,  went  in  advance  not  only  to  scour  the  way  and 
warn  us  of  danger,  but  to  cut  the  branches  and  briers  that  soon 
impede  an  untravelled  path  in  this  prolific  land.  They  marched 
within  hail  of  the  caravan,  and  shouted  whenever  we  approached 
bee-trees,  ant-hills,  hornet-nests,  reptiles,  or  any  of  the  Ethiopian 
perils  that  are  unheard  of  in  our  American  forests.  Behind 
these  pioneers,  came  the  porters  with  food  and  luggage ;  the  cen- 
tre of  the  caravan  was  made  up  of  women,  children,  guards,  and 
followers;  while  the  rear  was  commanded  by  myself  and  the 
chiefs,  who,  whips  in  hand,  found  it  sometimes  beneficial  to 
stimulate  the  steps  of  stragglers.  As  we  crossed  the  neighbor- 
ing Soosoo  towns,  our  imposing  train  was  saluted  with  discharges 
of  musketry,  while  crowds  of  women  and  children  followed 
their  "  cw/*?/,"  or  "  white-man,"  to  bid  him  farewell  on  the  border 
of  the  settlement. 

For  a  day  or  two  our  road  passed  through  a  rolling  country, 
interspersed  with  forests,  cultivated  fields,  and  African  villages, 
in  which  we  were  welcomed  by  the  generous  chiefs  with  bugnees^ 
or  trifling  gifts,  in  token  of  amity.  Used  to  the  scant  exercise 
of  a  lazy  dweller  on  the  coast,  whose  migrations  are  confined  to 
a  journey  from  his  house  to  the  landing,  and  from  the  landing  to 
his  house,  it  required  some  time  to  habituate  me  once  more  to 
walking.  By  degrees,  however,  I  overcame  the  foot-sore  weari- 
ness that  wrapped  me  in  perfect  lassitude  when  I  sank  into  my 
hammock  on  the  first  night  of  travel.  However,  as  we  became  bet- 
ter acquainted  with  each  other  and  with  wood-life,  we  tripped  along 
merrily  in  the  shadowy  silence  of  the  forest, — singing,  jesting, 
and  praising  Allah.  Even  the  slaves  were  relaxed  into  familiar- 
ity never  permitted  in  the  towns ;  while  masters  would  sometimes 
be  seen  relieving  the  servants  by  bearing  their  burdens.  At  night- 
fall the  women  brought  water,  cooked  food,  and  distributed  ra- 
tions ;  so  that,  after  four  days  pleasant  wayfaring  in  a  gentle 
trot,  our  dusty  caravan  halted  at  sunset  before  the  closed  gates 
of  a  fortified  town  belonging  to  Ibrahim  Ali,  the  Mandingo  chief 
of  Kya. 

It  was  some  time  before  our  shouts  and  beating  on  the  gates 
aroused  the  watchman  to  answer  our  appeal,  for  it  was  the  hour 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  139 

of  prayer,  and  Ibrahim  was  at  his  devotions.  At  last,  pestered 
by  their  dalliance,  I  fired  my  double-barrelled  gun,  whose  loud 
report  I  knew  was  more  likely  to  reach  the  ear  of  a  praying 
Mussulman.  I  did  not  reckon  improperly,  for  hardly  had  the 
echoes  died  away  before  the  great  war-drum  of  the  town  was  rat- 
tled, while  a  voice  from  a  loophole  demanded  our  business.  I 
left  the  negotiation  for  our  entry  to  the  Fullah  chief,  who  forth- 
with answered  that  "  the  Ali-Mami'S  caravan,  laden  with  goods, 
demanded  hospitality ; "  while  Ali-Ninpha  informed  the  (ques- 
tioner, that  Don  Teodore,  the  "  white  man  of  Kambia,'"  craved 
admittance  to  the  presence  of  Ibrahim  the  faithful. 

In  a  short  time  the  wicket  creaked,  and  Ibrahim  himself  put 
forth  his  head  to  welcome  the  strangers,  and  to  admit  them,  one 
by  one,  into  the  town.  His  reception  of  myself  and  Ali-Ninpha 
was  extremely  cordial ;  but  the  Fullah  chief  was  addressed  with 
cold  formality,  for  the  Mandingoes  have  but  little  patience  with 
the  well-known  haughtiness  of  their  national  rivals. 

Ali-Ninpha  had  been  Ibrahim's  playmate  before  he  migrated 
to  the  coast.  Their  friendship  still  existed  in  primitive  sin- 
cerity, and  the  chieftain's  highest  ambition  was  to  honor  the 
companion  and  guest  of  his  friend.  Accordingly,  his  wives  and 
females  were  summoned  to  prepare  my  quarters  with  comfort  and 
luxury.  The  best  house  was  chosen  for  my  lodging.  The 
earthen  floor  was  spread  with  mats.  Hides  were  stretched  on 
adobe  couches,  and  a  fire  was  kindled  to  purify  the  atmosphere. 
Pipes  were  furnished  my  companions  ;  and,  while  a  hammock 
was  slung  for  my  repose  before  supper,  a  chosen  henchman  was 
dispatched  to  seek  the  fattest  sheep  for  that  important  meal. 

Ibrahim  posted  sentinels  around  my  hut,  so  that  my  slum- 
bers were  uninterrupted,  until  Ali-Ninpha  roused  me  with  the 
pleasant  news  that  the  bowls  of  rice  and  stews  were  smoking  on 
the  mat  in  the  chamber  of  Ibrahim  himself.  Ninpha  knew  my 
tastes  and  superintended  the  cook.  He  had  often  jested  at  the 
"  white  man's  folly,"  when  my  stomach  turned  at  some  disgust- 
ing dish  of  the  country ;  so  that  the  pure  roasts  and  broils  of 
well-known  pieces  slipped  down  my  throat  with  the  appetite  of  a 
trooper      While  these  messes  were  under  discussion,  the  savory 


140  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

steam  of  a  rich  stew  with  a  creamy  sauce  saluted  my  nostrils, 
and,  without  asking  leave,  I  plunged  my  spoon  into  a  dish  that 
stood  before  my  entertainers,  and  seemed  prepared  exclusively 
for  themselves.  In  a  moment  I  was  invited  to  partake  of  the 
honne-boiichc ;  and  so  delicious  did  I  find  it,  that,  even  at  this 
distance  of  time,  my  mouth  waters  when  I  remember  the  forced- 
meat  balls  of  mutton,  minced  with  roasted  ground-nuts,  that  I 
devoured  that  night  in  the  Mandingo  town  of  Kya. 

But  the  best  of  feasts  is  dull  work  without  an  enlivening 
bowl.  Water  alone — pure  and  cool  as  it  was  in  this  hilly  region 
— did  not  quench  our  thirst.  Besides  this,  I  recollected  the 
fondness  of  my  landlord,  Ali-Ninpha,  for  strong  distillations,  and 
I  guessed  that  his  playmate  might  indulge,  at  least  privately,  in 
a  taste  for  similar  libations.  I  spoke,  therefore,  of  "  cordial  bit- 
ters,''— (a  name  not  unfamiliar  even  to  the  most  temperate 
Christians,  in  defence  of  flatulent  stomachs,) — and  at  the  same 
time  producing  my  travelling  canteen  of  Otard's  best,  applied  it 
to  the  nostrils  of  the  pair. 

I  know  not  how  it  happened,  but  before  I  could  warn  the 
Mahometans  of  the  risk  they  incurred,  the  lips  of  the  bottle  slid 
from  their  noses  to  their  mouths,  while  upheaved  elbows  long 
sustained  in  air,  gave  notice  that  the  flask  was  relishing  and  the 
draft  "  good  for  their  complaints."  Indeed,  so  appetizing  was 
the  liquor,  that  another  ground-nut  stew  was  demanded  ;  and, 
of  course,  another  bottle  was  required  to  allay  its  dyspeptic 
qualities. 

By  degrees,  the  brandy  did  its  work  on  the  worthy  Mahom- 
etans. While  it  restored  Ali-Ninpha  to  his  early  faith,  and 
brought  him  piously  to  his  knees  with  prayers  to  Allah,  it  had  a 
contrary  effect  on  Ibrahim,  whom  it  rendered  wild  and  generous. 
Every  thing  was  mine  ; — house,  lands,  slaves,  and  children.  Ho 
dwelt  rapturously  on  the  beauty  of  his  wives,  and  kissed  Ali- 
Ninpha  in  mistake  for  one  of  them.  This  only  rendered  the 
apostate  more  devout  than  ever,  and  set  him  roaring  invocations 
like  a  muezzin  from  a  minaret.  In  the  midst  of  these  orgies,  I 
stole  off  at  midnight,  and  was  escorted  by  my  servant  to  a 
delicious  hammock. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  141 

It  was  day-dawn  when  the  caravan's  crier  aroused  me,  as  he 
stood  on  a  house-top  calling  the  faithful  to  prayer  previous  to 
our  departure.  Before  I  could 'stir,  Ali-Ninpha,  haggard,  sick, 
and  crest  fallen,  from  his  debauch,  rolled  into  my  chamber,  and 
begged  the  postponement  of  our  departure,  as  it  was  impossible 
for  Ibrahim  AH  to  appear,  being  perfectly  vanquished  by — "  the 
bitters  !  "  The  poor  devil  hiccoughed  between  his  words,  and 
so  earnestly  and  with  so  many  bodily  gyrations  implored  my  in- 
terference with  the  Fullah  guide,  that  I  saw  at  once  he  was  in  no 
condition  to  travel. 

As  the  caravan  was  my  personal  escort  and  designed  exclu- 
sively for  my  convenience,  I  did  not  hesitate  to  command  a  halt, 
especially  as  I  was  in  some  measure  the  cause  of  my  landlord's 
malady.  Accordingly,  I  tied  a  kerchief  round  my  head,  covered 
myself  with  a  cloak,  and  leaning  very  lackadaisically  on  the 
edge  of  my  hammock,  sent  for  the  Fullah  chief. 

I  moaned  with  pain  as  he  approached,  and,  declaring  that  I 
was  prostrated  by  sudden  fever,  hoped  he  would  indulge  me  by 
countermanding  the  order  for  our  march.  I  do  not  know 
whether  the  worthy  Mussulman  understood  my  case  or  believed 
my  fever,  but  the  result  was  precisely  the  same,  for  he  assented 
to  my  request  like  a  gentleman,  and  expressed  the  deepest  sym- 
pathy with  my  sufferings.  His  next  concern  was  for  my  cure. 
True  to  the  superstition  and  bigotry  of  his  country,  the  good- 
natured  Fullah  insisted  on  taking  the  management  of  matters 
into  his  own  hands,  and  forthwith  prescribed  a  dose  from  the 
Koran,  dilated  in  water,  which  he  declared  was  a  specific  remedy 
for  my  complaint.  I  smiled  at  the  idea  of  making  a  drug  of 
divinity,  but  as  I  knew  that  homoeopathy  was  harmless  under  the 
circumstances,  I  requested  the  Fullah  to  prepare  his  physic  on 
the  spot.  The  chief  immediately  brought  his  Koran,  and  turn- 
ing over  the  leaves  attentively  for  some  time,  at  last  hit  on  the 
appropriate  verse,  which  he  wrote  down  on  a  board  with  gun- 
powder ink,  which  he  washed  off  into  a  bowl  with  clean  water.  This 
was  given  me  to  swallow,  and  the  Mahometan  left  me  to  the 
operation  of  his  religious  charm,  with  special  directions  to  the 
servant  to  allow  no  one  to  disturb  my  rest. 


142 

I  have  no  doubt  that  the  Fullah  was  somewhat  of  a  quiz, 
and  thought  a  chapter  in  his  Bible  a  capital  lesson  after  a  reck- 
less debauch  ;  so  I  ordered  my  door  to  be  barricaded,  and  slept 
like  a  dormouse,  until  Ibrahim  and  Ali-Ninpha  came  thundering 
at  the  portal  long  after  mid-day.  They  were  sadly  chopfallen. 
Penitence  spoke  from  their  aching  brows ;  nor  do  I  hesitate  to 
believe  they  were  devoutly  sincere  when  they  forswore  "  bitters  " 
for  the  future.  In  order  to  allay  suspicion,  or  quiet  his  con- 
science, the  Fullah  had  been  presented  with  a  magnificent  ram- 
goat,  flanked  by  baskets  of  choicest  rice. 

When  I  sallied  forth  into  the  town  with  the  suffering  sinners, 
I  found  the  sun  fast  declining  in  the  west,  and,  although  my 
fever  had  left  me,  it  was  altogether  too  late  to  depart  from  the 
village  on  our  journey.  I  mentioned  to  Ibrahim  a  report  on  the 
coast  that  his  town  was  bordered  by  a  -sacred  spring  known  as 
the  Devil's  Fountain,  and  inquired  whether  daylight  enough 
still  remained  to  allow  us  a  visit.  The  chief  assented ;  and  as 
in  his  generous  fit  last  night,  he  had  ofi"ered  me  a  horse,  I  now 
claimed  the  gift,  and  quickly  mounted  in  search  of  the  aqueous 
demon. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  143 


CHAPTER    XVIII. 

Ah  !  what  joy,  after  so  many  years,  to  be  once  more  in  the 
saddle  in  an  open  country,  with  a  steed  of  fire  and  spirit  bound- 
ing beneath  my  exhilarated  frame  !  It  was  long  before  I  could 
consent  to  obey  the  summons  of  our  guide  to  follow  him  on  the  path. 
When  the  gates  of  Kya  were  behind,  and  the  wider  roads  opened 
invitingly  before  me,  I  could  not  help  giving  rein  to  the  mottle- 
some  beast,  as  he  dashed  across  the  plain  beneath  the  arching 
branches  of  magnificent  cotton  woods.  The  solitude  and  the  mo- 
tion were  both  delightful.  Never,  since  I  last  galloped  from  the 
paseo  to  Atares,  and  from  Atares  to  El  Principe,  overlooking 
the  beautiful  bay  of  Havana,  and  the  distant  outline  of  her 
purple  sea,  had  I  felt  so  gloriously  the  rush  of  joyous  blood  that 
careered  through  my  veins  like  electric  fire.  Indeed,  I  know 
not  how  long  I  would  have  traversed  the  woods  had  not  the 
path  suddenly  ended  at  a  town,  where  my  Arabian  turned  of  his 
own  accord,  and  dashed  back  along  the  road  till  I  met  my  won- 
dering companions. 

Having  sobered  both  our  bloods,  I  felt  rather  better  prepared 
for  a  visit  to  the  Satanic  personage  who  was  the  object  of  our 
excursion.  About  two  miles  from  Kya,  we  struck  the  foot  of 
a  steep  hill,   some   three  hundred   feet  in   height,  over  whose 


1 44  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

shoulder  we  reached  a  deep  and  tangled  dell,  watered  by  a  slender 
stream  which  was  hemmed  in  by  a  profusion  of  shrubbery. 
Crossing  the  brook,  we  ascended  the  opposite  declivity  for  a  short 
distance  till  we  approached  a  shelving  precipice  of  rock,  along 
whose  slippery  side  the  ledgelike  path  continued.  I  passed  it  at 
a  bound,  and  instantly  stood  within  the  arched  aperture  of  a  deep 
cavern,  whence  a  hot  and  sulphurous  stream  trickled  slowly 
towards  the  ravine.  This  was  the  fountain,  and  the  demon  who 
presided  over  its  source  dwelt  within  the  cave. 

Whilst  I  was  examining  the  rocks  to  ascertain  their  quality, 
the  guide  apprised  me  that  the  impish  proprietor  of  these  waters 
was  gifted  with  a  "  multitude  of  tongues,"  and,  in  all  probability, 
would  reply  to  me  in  my  own,  if  I  thought  fit  to  address  him. 
*'  Indeed,"  said  the  savage,  "  he  will  answer  you  word  for  word 
and  that,  too,  almost  before  you  can  shape  your  thought  in 
lauojuacre.     Let  us  see  if  he  is  at  home  ?  " 

I  called,  in  a  loud  voice,  "  Kya  !  "  but  as  no  reply  followed, 
I  perceived  at  once  the  wit  of  the  imposture,  and  without  waiting 
for  him  to  place  me,  took  my  own  position  at  a  spot  inside  the 
cavern,  where  I  knew  the  echoes  would  be  redoubled.  "  Now," 
said  I,  ''  I  know  the  devil  is  at  home,  as  well  as  you  do  ;" — and, 
telling  my  people  to  listen,  I  bellowed,  with  all  my  might — 
"  caffra  fure  !  "  ''  infernal  black  one  !  " — till  the  resounding 
rocks  roared  again  with  demoniac  responses.  In  a  moment  the 
cavern  was  clear  of  every  African ;  so  that  I  amused  myself 
letting  ofi"  shrieks,  howls,  squeals,  and  pistols,  until  the  afrighted 
natives  peeped  into  the  mouth  of  the  cave,  thinking  the  devil  in 
reality  had  come  for  me  in  a  double-breasted  garment  of  thunder 
and  lightning.  I  came  forth,  however,  with  a  whole  skin  and  so 
hearty  a  laugh,  that  the  Africans  seized  my  hands  in  token  of 
congratulation,  and  looked  at  me  with  wonderment,  as  some- 
thing greater  than  the  devil  himself.  Without  waiting  for  a 
commentary,  I  leaped  on  my  Arab  and  darted  down  the  hill. 

"  And  so,"  said  I,  when  I  got  back  to  Kya,  "  dost  thou  in 
truth  believe,  beloved  Ibrahim,  that  the  devil  dwells  in  those 
rocks  of  the  sulphur  stream?  " 

"  Why  not,  brother  Theodore  ?  Isn't  the  water  poison  ?  If  you 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  145 

drink,  will  it  not  physic  you  ?  "When  animals  lick  it  in  the  dry 
season,  do  they  not  die  on  the  margin  by  scores  ?  Now,  a  'book- 
man '  like  you,  my  brother,  knows  well  enough  that  water  alone 
can't  kill ;  so  that  whenever  it  does,  the  devil  must  be  in  it ; 
and,  moreover,  is  it  not  he  who  speaks  in  the  cavern  ?  " 

"  Good,'-  replied  I ;  "  but,  pry'thee,  dear  Ibrahim,  read  me 
this  riddle :  if  the  devil  gets  into  water  and  kills,  why  don't  he 
kill  when  he  gets  into  '  hitters  ?  '  " 

"  Ah  !  "  said  the  Ali — "  you  white  men  are  infidels  and  scof- 
fers !  "  as  he  laughed  like  a  rollicking  trooper,  and  led  me,  with 
his  arm  round  my  neck,  into  supper.  "  And  yet,  Don  Teodore, 
don't  forget  the  portable  imp  that  you  carry  in  that  Yankee 
flask  in  your  pocket !  " 

We  did  not  dispute  the  matter  further.  I  had  been  long 
enough  in  Africa  to  find  out  that  white  men  made  themselves  odious 
to  the  natives  and  created  bitter  enemies,  by  despising  or  ridicul- 
ing their  errors  ;  and  as  I  was  not  abroad  on  a  mission  of  civiliza- 
tion, I  left  matters  just  as  I  found  them.  When  I  was  among 
the  Mahometans,  I  was  an  excellent  Mussulman,  while,  among 
the  heathen,  I  affected  considerable  respect  for  their  jujus^ 
gree  grees^  feitiches,  snakes^  iguanas,  alligators^  and  wooden 
images. 

Ere  we  set  forth  next  morning,  my  noble  host  caused  a  gene- 
rous meal  to  be  dispensed  among  the  caravan.  The  breakfast 
consisted  of  boiled  rice  dried  in  the  sun,  and  then  boiled  again 
with  milk  or  water  after  being  pounded  finely  in  a  mortar.  This 
nutritive  dish  was  liberally  served ;  and,  as  a  new  Mongo,  I  was 
tendered  an  especial  platter,  flanked  by  copious  bowls  of  cream 
and  honey. 

It  is  true  Mandingo  etiquette,  at  the  departure  of  an  honored 
friend,  for  the  Lord  of  the  Town  to  escort  him  on  his  way  to 
the  first  brook,  drink  of  the  water  with  the  wayfarer,  toast  a 
prompt  return,  invoke  Allah  for  a  prosperous  voyage,  shake 
hands,  and  snap  fingers,  in  token  of  friendly  adieu.  The  host 
who  tarries  then  takes  post  in  the  path,  and,  fixing  his  eyes  on 
the  departing  guest,  never  stirs  till  the  traveller  is  lost  in  the 
folds  of  the  forest,  or  sinks  behind  the  distant  horizon. 
7 


146 


OR, 


Such  was  the  conduct  of  my  friend  Ibrahim  on  this  occasion ; 
nor  was  it  all.  It  is  a  singular  habit  of  these  benighted  peo- 
ple, to  keep  their  word  whenever  they  make  a  promise  !  I  dare 
say  it  is  one  of  the  marks  of  their  faint  civilization ;  yet  I  am 
forced  to  record  it  as  a  striking  fact.  When  I  sallied  forth  from 
the  gate  of  the  town,  I  noticed  a  slave  holding  the  horse  I  rode 
the  day  before  to  the  Devil's  fountain,  ready  caprisoned  and 
groomed  as  for  a  journey.  Being  accompanied  by  Ibrahim  on 
foot,  I  supposed  the  animal  was  designed  for  his  return  after  our 
complimentary  adieus.  But  when  we  had  passed  at  least  a  mile 
beyond  the  parting  brook,  I  again  encountered  the  beast,  whose 
leader  approached  Ali-Ninpha  announcing,  the  horse  as  a  gift 
from  his  master  to  help  me  on  my  way.  Ere  I  backed  the 
blooded  animal,  an  order  was  directed  to  my  clerk  at  Kambia  for 
two  muskets,  two  kegs  of  powder,  two  pieces  of  blue  cotton,  and 
one  hundred  pounds  of  tobacco.  I  advised  my  official,  moreover, 
to  inclose  in  the  core  of  the  tobacco  the  stoutest  flask  he  could 
find  of  our  fourth  proof  "  bitters  1  " 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  147 


CHAPTER    XIX. 

The  day  was  cloudy,  but  our  trotting  caravan  did  not  exceed 
twenty  miles  in  travel.  In  Africa  things  are  done  leisurely,  for 
neither  life,  speculation,  nor  ambition  is  so  exciting  or  exacting 
as  to  make  any  one  in  a  hurry.  I  do  not  recollect  to  have  ever 
seen  an  individual  in  haste  while  I  dwelt  in  the  torrid  clime. 
The  shortest  existence  is  long  enough,  when  it  is  made  up  of 
sleep,  slave-trade,  and  mastication. 

At  sunset  no  town  was  in  sight ;  so  it  was  resolved  to 
bivouac  in  the  forest  on  the  margin  of  a  beautiful  brook,  where 
rice,  tea,  and  beef,  were  speedily  boiled  and  smoking  on  the  mats. 
When  I  was  about  to  stretch  my  weary  limbs  for  the  night 
on  the  ground,  my  boy  gave  me  another  instance  of  Ibrahim's 
true  and  heedful  hospitality,  by  producing  a  grass  hammock  he 
had  secretly  ordered  to  be  packed  among  my  baggage.  With  a 
hammock  and  a  horse  I  was  on  velvet  in  the  forest ! 

Delicious  sleep  curtained  my  swinging  couch  between  two 
splendid  cotton- woods  until  midnight,  when  the  arm  of  our 
Fullah  chief  was  suddenly  laid  on  my  shoulder  with  a  whispered 
call  to  prepare  for  defence  or  flight.  As  I  leaped  to  the  ground 
the  caravan  was  already  afoot,  though  the  profoundest  silence 
prevailed  throughout  the  wary  crowd.  The  watch  announced 
strangers  in  our  neighborhood,  and  two  guides  had  been  des- 


148  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

patched  immediately  to  reconnoitre  the  forest.  This  was  all  the 
information  they  could  give  me. 

The  native  party  was  fully  prepared  and  alert  with  spears, 
lances,  bows  and  arrows.  I  commanded  my  own  men  to  re- 
prime  their  muskets,  pistols,  and  rifles  ;  so  that,  when  the  guides 
returned  with  a  report  that  the  intruders  were  supposed  to 
form  a  party  of  fugitive  slaves,  we  were  ready  for  our  customers. 

Their  capture  was  promptly  determined.  Some  proposed 
we  should  delay  till  daylight ;  but  Ali-Ninpha,  who  was  a 
sagacious  old  fighter,  thought  it  best  to  complete  the  enterprise 
by  night,  especially  as  the  savages  kept  up  a  smouldering  fire  in 
the  midst  of  their  sleeping  group,  which  would  serve  to  guide  us. 

Our  little  band  was  immediately  divided  into  two  squads,  one 
under  the  lead  of  the  FuUah,  and  the  other  commanded  by  Ali- 
Ninpha.  The  Fullah  was  directed  to  make  a  circuit  until  he  got 
in  the  rear  of  the  slaves,  while  Ali-Ninpha,  at  a  concerted  signal, 
began  to  advance  towards  them  from  our  camp.  Half  an  hour 
probably  elapsed  before  a  faint  call,  like  the  cry  of  a  child,  was 
heard  in  the  distant  forest,  upon  which  the  squad  of  my  landlord 
fell  on  all-fours,  and  crawled  cautiously,  like  cats,  through  the 
short  grass  and  brushwood,  in  the  direction  of  the  sound.  The 
sleepers  were  quickly  surrounded.  The  Mandingo  gave  the  sig- 
nal as  soon  as  the  ends  of  the  two  parties  met  and  completed 
the  circle ;  and^  in  an  instant,  every  one  of  the  runaways,  except 
two,  was  in  the  grasp  of  a  warrior,  with  a  cord  around  his  throat. 
Fourteen  captives  were  brought  into  camp.  The  eldest  of  the 
party  alleged  that  they  belonged  to  the  chief  of  Tamisso,  a  town 
on  our  path  to  Timbo,  and  were  bound  to  the  coast  for  sale.  On 
their  way  to  the  foreign  factories,  which  they  were  exceedingly 
anxious  to  reach,  their  owner  died,  so  that  they  came  under  the 
control  of  his  brother,  who  threatened  to  change  their  destina- 
tion, and  sell  them  in  the  interior.  In  consequence  of  this  they 
fled  ;  and,  as  their  master  would  surely  slay  them  if  restored  to 
Tamisso,  they  besought  us  with  tears  not  to  take  them  thither. 

Another  council  was  called,  for  we  were  touched  by  the 
earnest  manner  of  the  negroes.  Ali-Ninpha  and  the  Fullah  were 
of  opinion  that  the  spoil  was  fairly  ours,  and  should  be  divided 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  149 

in  proportion  to  the  men  in  both  parties.  Yet,  as  our  road 
passed  by  the  objectionable  town,  it  was  impossible  to  carry  the 
slaves  along,  either  in  justice  to  ourselves  or  them.  In  this 
strait,  which  puzzled  the  Africans  sorely,  I  came  to  their  relief, 
by  suggesting  their  dispatch  to  my  factory  with  orders  for  the 
payment  of  their  value  in  merchandise. 

The  proposal  was  quickly  assented  to  as  the  most  feasible, 
and  our  fourteen  captives  were  at  once  divided  into  two  gangs,  of 
seven  eTach.  Hoops  of  bamboo  were  soon  clasped  round  their 
waists,  while  their  hands  were  tied  by  stout  ropes  to  the  hoops. 
A  long  tether  was  then  passed  with  a  slip-knot  through  each 
rattan  belt,  so  that  the  slaves  were  firmly  secured  to  each 
other,  while  a  small  coil  was  employed  to  link  them  more  securely 
in  a  band  by  their  necks.  These  extreme  precautions  were 
needed,  because  we  dared  not  diminish  our  party  to  guard  the 
gang.  Indeed,  Ali-Ninpha  was  -only  allowed  the  two  interpreters 
and  four  of  my  armed  people  as  his  escort  to  Kya,  where,  it  was 
agreed,  he  should  deliver  the  captives  to  Ibrahim,  to  be  for- 
warded to  my  factory,  while  he  hastened  to  rejoin  us  at  the  river 
Sanghu,  where  we  designed  tarrying. 

For  three  days  we  journeyed  through  the  forest,  passing 
occasionally  along  the  beds  of  dried-up  streams  and  across  lonely 
tracts  of  wood  which  seemed  never  to  have  been  penetrated, 
save  by  the  solitary  path  we  were  treading.  As  we  were  anxious 
to  be  speedily  reunited  with  our  companions,  our  steps  were  not 
hastened ;  so  that,  at  the  end  of  the  third  day,  we  had  not 
advanced  more  than  thirty  miles  from  the  scene  of  capture, 
when  we  reached  a  small  Mandingo  village,  recently  built  by  an 
upstart  trader,  who,  with  the  common  envy  and  pride  of  his 
tribe,  gave  our  Fullah  caravan  a  frigid  reception.  A  single  hut 
was  assigned  to  the  chief  and  myself  for  a  dwelling,  and  the 
rage  of  the  Mahometan  may  readily  be  estimated  by  an  insult 
that  would  doom  him  to  sleep  beneath  the  same  roof  with  a 
Christian  ! 

I  endeavored  to  avert  an  outburst  by  apprising  the  Mandingo 
that  I  was  a  bosom  friend  of  Ali-Ninpha,  his  countryman  and 
superior,  and  begged  that  he  would  sufi"er  the  "  head  man  "  of 


150  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

our  caravan  to  dwell  in  a  house  alone.  But  the  impudent 
parvenu  sneered  at  my  advice  ;  "  he  knew  no  such  person  as 
Ali-Ninpha,  and  cared  not  a  snap  of  his  finger  for  a  FuUah  chief, 
or  a  beggarly  white  man  !  " 

My  body  servant  was  standing  by  when  this  tart  reply  fell 
from  the  Mandingo's  lips,  and,  before  I  could  stop  the  impetuous 
youth,  he  answered  the  trader  with  as  gross  an  insult  as  an 
African  can  utter.  To  this  the  Mandingo  replied  by  a  blow  over 
the  boy's  shoulders  with  the  flat  of  a  cutlass  ;  and,  in  a' twink- 
ling, there  was  a  general  shout  for  "  rescue  "  from  all  my  party 
who  happened  to  witness  the  scene.  Fullahs,  Mandingoes,  and 
Soosoos  dashed  to  the  spot,  with  spears,  guns,  and  arrows.  The 
Fullah  chief  seized  my  double-barrelled  gun  and  followed  the 
crowd  ;  and  when  he  reached  the  spot,  seeing  the  trader  still 
waving  his  cutlass  in  a  menacing  manner,  he  pulled  both  triggers 
at  the  inhospitable  savage.  Fortunately,  however,  it  was  always 
my  custom  on  arriving  m  friendly  towns,  to  remove  the  copper 
caps  from  my  weapons,  so  that,  when  the  hammers  fell,  the  gun 
was  silent.  Before  the  Fullah  could  club  the  instrument  and 
prostrate  the  insulter,  I  rushed  between  them  to  prevent 
murder.  This  I  was  happy  enough  to  succeed  in ;  but  I 
could  not  deter  the  rival  tribe  from  binding  the  brute,  hand 
and  foot,  to  a  post  in  the  centre  of  his  town,  while  the  majority 
of  our  caravan  cleared  the  settlement  at  once  of  its  fifty  or  sixty 
inhabitants. 

Of  course,  we  appropriated  the  dwellings  as  we  pleased,  and 
supplied  ourselves  with  provisions.  Moreover,  it  was  thought 
preferable  to  wait  in  this  village  for  Ali-Ninpha,  than  to  proceed 
onwards  towards  the  borders  of  the  Sanghu.  When  he  arrived, 
on  the  second  day  after  the  sad  occurrence,  he  did  not  hesitate 
to  exercise  the  prerogative  of  judgment  and  condemnation  always 
claimed  by  superior  chiefs  over  inferiors,  whenever  they  consider 
themselves  slighted  or  wronged.  The  process  in  this  case  was 
calmly  and  humanely  formed.  A  regular  trial  was  allowed  the 
culprit.  He  was  arraigned  on  three  charges: — 1.  Want  of  hos- 
pitality ;  2.  Cursing  and  maltreating  a  Fullah  chief  and  a  white 
Mongo  ;  3.  Disrespect  to  the  name  and  authority  of  his  country- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  151 

man  and  superior,  Ali  Ninpha.  On  all  these  articles  the  prisoner 
was  found  guilty  ;  but,  as  there  were  neither  slaves  nor  personal 
property  by  which  the  ruffian  could  be  mulcted  for  his  crimes, 
the  tribunal  adjudged  him  to  be  scourged  with  fifty  lashes,  and 
to  have  his  "  town-fence  or  stockade  destroyed,  never  to  be 
rebuilt."  The  blows  were  inflicted  for  the  abuse,  but  the  per- 
petual demolition  of  his  defensive  barrier  was  in  punishment  for 
refused  hospitality.  Such  is  the  summary  process  by  which 
social  virtues  are  inculcated  and  enforced  among  these  interior 
tribes  of  Africa ! 


It  required  three  days  for  our  refreshed  caravan  to  reach  the 
dry  and  precipitous  bed  of  the  Sanghu,  which  I  found  impossible 
to  pass  with  my  horse,  in  consequence  of  jagged  rocks  and  im- 
mense boulders  that  covered  its  channel.  But  the  men  were 
resolved  that  my  convenient  animal  should  not  be  left  behind. 
Accordingly,  all  hands  went  to  work  with  alacrity  on  the  trees, 
and  in  a  day,  they  bridged  the  ravine  with  logs  bound  together 
by  ropes  made  from  twisted  bark.  Across  this  frail  and  sway- 
ing fabric  I  urged  the  horse  with  difficulty ;  but  hardly  had  he 
reached  the  opposite  bank,  and  recovered  from  his  nervous 
tremor,  when  I  was  surprised  by  an  evident  anxiety  in  the  beast 
to  return  to  his  swinging  pathway.  The  guides  declared  it  to  be 
an  instinctive  warning  of  danger  from  wild  beasts  with  which  the 
region  is  filled ;  and,  even  while  we  spoke,  two  of  the  scouts  who 
were  in  advance  selecting  ground  for  our  camp,  returned  with  the 
carcasses  of  a  deer  and  leopard.  Though  meat  had  not  passed 
our  lips  for  five  days,  we  were  in  no  danger  of  starvation ;  the 
villages  teemed  with  fruits  and  vegetables.  Pineapples,  bana- 
nas, and  a  pulpy  globe  resembling  the  peach  in  form  and  flavor, 
quenched  our  thirst  and  satisfied  our  hunger. 

Besides  these,  our  greedy  natives  foraged  in  the  wilderness 
for  nourishment  unknown,  or  at  least  unused,  by  civilized  folk&. 
They  found  comfort  in  barks  of  various  trees,  as  well  as  in  buds, 
berries,  and  roots,  some  of  which  they  devoured  raw,  while 
others  were  either  boiled  or  made  into  palatable  decoctions  with 


152  CAPTAIN    CANOT  j    OR, 

■water  that  gurgled  from  every  hill.  The  broad  valleys  and  open 
country  supplied  animal  and  vegetable  "  delicacies "  which  a 
white  man  would  pass  unnoticed.  Many  a  time,  when  I  was  as 
hungry  as  a  wolf,  I  found  my  vagabonds  in  a  nook  of  the  woods, 
luxuriating  over  a  moss  with  the  unctuous  lips  of  aldermen  ; 
but  when  I  came  to  analyze  the  stew,  I  generally  found  it  to 
consist  of  a  "  witch's  cauldron,"  copiously  filled  with  snails, 
lizards,  iguanas,  frogs  and  alligators  ! 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  153 


CHAPTER    XX. 

A  JOURNEY  to  the  interior  of  Africa  would  be  a  rural  jaunt,  were 
it  not  so  often  endangered  by  the  perils  of  war.  The  African 
may  fairly  be  characterized  as  a  shepherd,  whose  pastoral  life  is 
varied  by  a  little  agriculture,  and  the  conflicts  into  which  he  is 
seduced,  either  by  family  quarrels,  or  the  natural  passions  of  his 
blood.  His  country,  though  uncivilized,  is  not  so  absolutely 
wild  as  is  generally  supposed.  The  gradual  extension  of  Ma- 
hometanism  throughout  the  interior  is  slowly  but  evidently  modi- 
fying the  Negro.  An  African  Mussulman  is  still  a  warrior, 
for  the  dissemination  of  faith  as  well  as  for  the  gratification  of 
avarice ;  yet  the  Prophet's  laws  are  so  much  more  genial  than 
the  precepts  of  paganism,  that,  within  the  last  half  century,  the 
humanizing  influence  of  the  Koran  is  acknowledged  by  all  who 
are  acquainted  with  the  interior  tribes. 

But  in  all  the  changes  that  may  come  over  the  spirit  of  man 
in  Africa,  her  magnificent  external  natvre  will  for  ever  remain 
the  same.  A  little  labor  teems  with  vast  returns.  The  climate 
exacts  nothing  but  shade  from  the  sun  and  shelter  from  the 
storm.  Its  oppressive  heat  forbids  a  toilsome  industry,  and 
almost  enforces  indolence  as  a  law.  With  every  want  supplied, 
without  the  allurements  of  social  rivalry,  without  the  temptations 
of  national  ambition  or  personal  pride,  what  has  the  African  to 
do  in  his  forest  of  palm  and  cocoa, — his  grove  of  orange,  pome- 
7* 


154  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

granate  and  fig, — on  his  mat  of  comfortable  repose,  where  the 
fruit  stoops  to  his  lips  without  a  struggle  for  the  prize, — save  to 
brood  over,  or  gratify,  the  electric  passions  with  which  his  soul 
seems  charged  to  bursting  ! 

It  is  an  interesting  task  to  travel  through  a  continent  filled 
with  such  people,  whose  minds  are  just  beginning,  here  and  there, 
to  emerge  from  the  vilest  heathenism,  and  to  glimmer  with  a 
faith  that  bears  wrapped  in  its  unfolded  leaves,  the  seeds  of  a 
modified  civilization. 

As  I  travelled  in  the  "  dry  season,"  I  did  not  encounter 
many  of  the  discomforts  that  beset  the  African  wayfarer  in 
periods  of  rain  and  tempest.  I  was  not  obliged  to  flounder 
through  lagoons,  or  swim  against  the  current  of  perilous  rivers. 
We  met  their  traces  almost  every  day ;  and,  in  many  places,  the 
soil  was  worn  into  parched  ravines  or  the  tracks  of  dried-up 
torrents.  Whatever  affliction  I  experienced  arose  from  the 
wasting  depression  of  heat.  We  did  not  suffer  from  lack  of  water 
or  food,  for  the  caravan  of  the  Ali-Mami  commanded  implicit 
obedience  throughout  our  journey. 

In  the  six  hundred  miles  I  traversed,  whilst  absent  from  the 
coast,  my  memory,  after  twenty-six  years,  leads  me,  from  begin- 
ning to  end,  through  an  almost  continuous  forest-path.  We 
struck  a  trail  when  we  started,  and  we  left  it  when  we  came  home. 
It  was  rare,  indeed,  to  encounter  a  cross  road,  except  when  it 
led  to  neighboring  villages,  water,  or  cultivated  fields.  So  dense 
was  the  forest  foliage,  that  we  often  walked  for  hours  in  shade 
without  a  glimpse  of  the  sun.  The  emerald  light  that  penetrated 
the  wood,  bathed  every  thing  it  touched  with  mellow  refresh- 
ment. But  we  were  repaid  for  this  partial  bliss  by  intense  suf- 
fering when  we  came  forth  from  the  sanctuary  into  the  bare 
valleys,  the  arid  barrancas,  and  marshy  savannas  of  an  open 
region.  There,  the  red  eye  of  the  African  sun  glared  with 
merciless  fervor.  Every  thing  reflected  its  rays.  They  struck 
us  like  lances  from  above,  from  below,  from  the  sides,  from  the 
rocks,  from  the  fields,  from  the  stunted  herbage,  from  the  bushes. 
All  was  glare !     Our  eyes  seemed  to  simmer  in  their  sockets. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  155 

Whenever  the  path  followed  the  channel  of  a  brook,  whose  dried 
torrents  left  bare  the  scorched  and  broken  rocks,  our  feet  fled 
from  the  ravine  as  from  heated  iron.  Frequently  we  entered 
extensive  prairies^  covered  with  blades  of  sword-grass,  tall  as 
our  heads,  whose  jagged  edges  tore  us  like  saws,  though  we  pro- 
tected our  faces  with  masks  of  wattled  willows.  And  yet,  after 
all  these  discomforts,  how  often  are  my  dreams  haunted  by  charm- 
ing pictures  of  natural  scenery  that  have  fastened  themselves  for 
ever  in  my  memory  ! 

As  the  traveller  along  the  coast  turns  the  prow  of  his  canoe 
through  the  surf,  and  crosses  the  angry  bar  that  guards  the 
mouth  of  an  African  river,  he  suddenly  finds  himself  moving 
calmly  onward  between  sedgy  shores,  buried  in  mangroves.  Pre- 
sently, the  scene  expands  in  the  unruffled  mirror  of  a  deep,  majes- 
tic stream.  Its  lofty  banks  are  covered  by  innumerable  varieties 
of  the  tallest  forest  trees,  from  whose  summits  a  trailing  net- 
work of  vines  and  flowers  floats  down  and  sweeps  the  passing 
current.  A  stranger  who  beholds  this  scenery  for  the  first  time 
is  struck  by  the  immense  size,  the  prolific  abundance,  and  gor- 
geous verdure  of  every  thing.  Leaves,  large  enough  for  gar- 
ments, lie  piled  and  motionless  in  the  lazy  air.  The  bamboo  and 
cane  shake  their  slender  spears  and  pennant  leaves  as  the  stream 
ripples  among  their  roots.  Beneath  the  massive  trunks  of  forest 
trees,  the  country  opens ;  and,  in  vistas  through  the  wood,  the 
traveller  sees  innumerable  fields  lying  fallow  in  grass,  or  waving 
with  harvests  of  rice  and  cassava,  broken  by  golden  clusters  of 
Indian  corn.  Anon,  groups  of  oranges,  lemons,  coffee-trees, 
plantains  and  bananas,  are  crossed  by  the  tall  stems  of  cocoas, 
and  arched  by  the  broad  and  drooping  coronals  of  royal  palm. 
Beyond  this,  capping  the  summit  of  a  hill,  may  be  seen  the  coni- 
cal huts  of  natives,  bordered  by  fresh  pastures  dotted  with 
flocks  of  sheep  and  goats,  or  covered  by  numbers  of  the  sleekest 
cattle.  As  you  leave  the  coast,  and  shoot  round  the  river- 
curves  of  this  fragrant  wilderness  teeming  with  flowers,  vocal 
with  birds,  and  gay  with  their  radiant  plumage,  you  plunge  into 
the  interior,  where  the  rising  country  slowly  expands  into  hills 
and  mountains. 


156 

The  forest  is  varied.  Sometimes  it  is  a  matted  pile  of  tree, 
vine,  and  bramble,  obscuring  every  thing,  and  impervious  save 
with  knife  and  hatchet.  At  others,  it  is  a  Gothic  temple.  The 
sward  spreads  openly  for  miles  on  every  side,  while,  from  its  even 
surface,  the  trunks  of  straight  and  massive  trees  rise  to  a  prodi- 
gious height,  clear  from  every  obstruction,  till  their  gigantic 
limbs,  like  the  capitals  of  columns,  mingle  their  foliage  in  a  roof 
of  perpetual  verdure. 

At  length  the  hills  are  reached,  and  the  lowland  heat  is  tem- 
pered by  mountain  freshness.  The  scene  that  may  be  beheld 
from  almost  any  elevation,  is  always  beautiful,  and  sometimes 
grand.  Forest,  of  course,  prevails ;  yet,  with  a  glass,  and  often 
by  the  unaided  eye,  gentle  hills,  swelling  from  the  wooded  land- 
scape, may  be  seen  covered  with  native  huts,  whose  neighbor- 
hood is  checkered  with  patches  of  sward  and  cultivation,  and 
inclosed  by  massive  belts  of  primeval  wildness.  Such  is  com- 
monly the  westward  view ;  but  north  and  east,  as  far  as  vision 
extends,  noble  outlines  of  hill  and  mountain  may  be  traced  against 
the  sky,  lapping  each  other  with  their  mighty  folds,  until  they 
fade  away  in  the  azure  horizon. 

When  a  view  like  this  is  beheld  at  morning,  in  the  neighbor- 
hood of  rivers,  a  dense  mist  will  be  observed  lying  beneath  the 
spectator  in  a  solid  stratum,  refracting  the  light  now  breaking 
from  the  east.  Here  and  there,  in  this  lake  of  vapor,  the  tops 
of  hills  peer  up  like  green  islands  in  a  golden  sea.  But,  ere  you 
have  time  to  let  fancy  run  riot,  the  "  cloud  compelling  "  orb  lifts 
its  disc  over  the  mountains,  and  the  fogs  of  the  valley,  like  ghosts 
at  cock-crow,  flit  fropa  the  dells  they  have  haunted  since  night- 
fall. Presently,  the  sun  is  out  in  his  terrible  splendor.  Africa 
unveils  to  her  master,  and  the  blue  sky  and  green  forest  blaze 
and  quiver  with  his  beams. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  157 


CHAPTEK    XXI. 

I  FELT  SO  mucli  the  lack  of  scenery  in  my  narrative,  that  I 
thought  it  well  to  group  in  a  few  pages  the  African  pictures  I 
have  given  in  the  last  chapter.  My  story  had  too  much  of  the 
bareness  of  the  Greek  stage,  and  I  was  conscious  that  landscape, 
as  well  as  action,  was  required  to  mellow  the  subject  and  relieve 
it  from  tedium.  After  our  dash  through  the  wilderness,  let  us 
return  to  the  slow  toil  of  the  caravan. 

Four  days  brought  us  to  Tamisso  from  our  last  halt.  "VVe 
camped  on  the  copious  brook  that  ran  near  the  town-walls,  and 
while  Ali-Ninpha  thought  proper  to  compliment  the  chief,  Mo- 
hamedoo,  by  a  formal  announcement  of  our  arrival,  the  caravan 
made  ready  for  reception  by  copious,  but  needed^  ablutions  of 
flesh  and  raiment.  The  women,  especially,  were  careful  in  adorn- 
ing and  heightening  their  charms.  Wool  was  combed  to  its 
utmost  rigidity ;  skins  were  greased  till  they  shone  like  polished 
ebony  ;  ankles  and  arms  were  restrung  with  beads ;  and  loins 
were  girded  with  snowy  waistcloths.  Ali-Ninpha  knew  the  pride 
of  his  old  Mandingo  companions,  and  was  satisfied  that  Moha- 
medoo  would  have  been  mortified  had  we  surprised  him  within 
the  precincts  of  his  court,  squatted,  perhaps,  on  a  dirty  mat  with 
a  female  scratching  his  head  !  Ali-Ninpha  was  a  prudent  gen- 
tleman, and  knew  the  difi"erence  between  the  private  and  public 
lives  of  his  illustrious  countrymen  ! 


158  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

In  the  afternoon  our  interpreters  returned  to  camp  with  Mo- 
hamedoo's  son,  accompanied  by  a  dozen  women  carrying  platters 
of  boiled  rice,  calabashes  filled  with  delicate  sauce,  and  abundance 
of  ture^  or  vegetable  butter.  A  beautiful  horse  was  also  de- 
spatched for  my  triumphal  entry  into  town. 

The  food  was  swallowed  with  an  appetite  corresponding  to 
our  recent  penitential  fare  ;  the  tents  were  struck  ;  and  the  cara- 
van was  forthwith  advanced  towards  Tamisso.  All  the  noise  we 
could  conveniently  make,  by  way  of  music^  was,  of  course,  duly 
attempted.  Interpreters  and  guides  went  ahead,  discharging 
guns.  Half  a  dozen  tom-toms  were  struck  with  uncommon 
rapidity  and  vigor,  while  the  unctuous  women  set  up  a  chorus  of 
melody  that  would  not  have  disgraced  a  band  of  "  Ethiopian 
Minstrels." 

Half-way  to  the  town  our  turbulent  mob  was  met  by  a  troop 
of  musicians  sent  out  by  the  chief  to  greet  us  with  song  and  harp. 
I  was  quickly  surrounded  by  the  singers,  who  chanted  the  most 
fulsome  praise  of  the  opulent  Mongo,  while  a  court-fool  or  buf- 
foon insisted  on  leading  my  horse,  and  occasionally  wiping  my 
face  with  his  filthy  handkerchief! 

Presently  we  reached  the  gates,  thronged  by  pressing  crowds 
of  curious  burghers.  Men,  women,  and  children,  had  all  come 
abroad  to  see  the  immense  Furtoo^  or  white  man,  and  appeared 
as  much  charmed  by  the  spectacle  as  if  I  had  been  a  banished 
patriot.  I  was  forced  to  dismount  at  the  low  wicket,  but  here 
the  empressement  of  my  inquisitive  hosts  became  so  great,  that 
the  "  nation's  guest  "  was  forced  to  pause  until  some  amiable 
bailifi's  modified  the  amazement  of  their  fellow-citizens  by  staves 
and  whips. 

I  lost  no  time  in  the  lull,  while  relieved  from  the  mob,  to 
pass  onward  to  "  the  palace  "  of  Mohamedoo,  which,  like  all 
royal  residences  in  Africa,  consisted  of  a  mud-walled  quadran- 
gular inclosure,  with  ,a  small  gate,  a  large  court,  and  a  quantity 
of  adobe  huts,  surrounded  by  shady  verandahs.  The  furniture, 
mats,  and  couches  were  of  cane,  while  wooden  platters,  brass  ket- 
tles, and  common  wash-basins,  were  spread  out  in  every  direction 
for  show  and  service. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  159 

On  a  couch,  covered  with  several  splendid  leopard  skins,  re- 
clined Mohamedoo,  awaiting  my  arrival  with  as  much  statelinesS 
as  if  he  had  been  a  scion  of  civilized  royalty.  The  chief  was  a 
man  of  sixty  at  least.  His  corpulent  body  was  covered  with 
short  Turkish  trousers,  and  a  large  Mandingo  shirt  profusely 
embroidered  with  red  and  yellow  worsted.  His  bald  or  shaved 
head  was  concealed  by  a  light  turban,  while  a  long  white  beard 
stood  out  in  relief  against  his  tawny  skin,  and  hung  down  upon 
his  breast.  j^li-Ninpha  presented  me  formally  to  this  personage, 
who  got  up,  shook  hands,  "  snapped  fingers,"  and  welcomed  me 
thrice.  My  FuUah  chief  and  Mandingo  companion  then  pro- 
ceeded to  "  make  their  clantica^^'^  or  declare  the  purpose  of 
their  visit ;  but  when  they  announced  that  I  was  the  guest  of 
the  Fullah  Ali-Mami,  and,  accordingly,  was  entitled  to  free  pas- 
sage every  where  without  expense,  I  saw  that  the  countenance 
of  the  veteran  instantly  fell,  and  that  his  welcome  was  dashed  by 
the  loss  of  a  heavy  duty  which  he  designed  exacting  for  my 
transit. 

The  sharp  eye  of  Ali-Ninpha  was  not  slow  in  detecting  Mo- 
hamedoo's  displeasure  ;  and,  as  I  had  previously  prepared  him 
in  private,  he  took  an  early  opportunity  to  whisper  in  the  old 
man's  ear,  that  Don  Teodore  knew  he  was  compelled  to  jour- 
ney through  Tamisso,  and,  of  course,  had  not  come  empty-handed. 
My  object,  he  said,  in  visiting  this  region  and  the  territory  of 
the  Fullah  king,  was  not  idle  curiosity  alone  ;  but  that  I  was 
prompted  by  a  desire  for  liberal  trade,  and  especially  for  the 
purchase  of  slaves  to  load  the  numerous  vessels  I  had  lingering 
on  the  coast,  with  immense  cargoes  of  cloth,  muskets,  and  pow- 
der. 

The  clouds  were  dispersed  as  soon  as  a  hint  was  thrown  out 
about  traffic.  The  old  sinner  nodded  like  a  mandarin  who  knew 
what  he  was  about,  and,  rising  as  soon  as  the  adroit  whisperer 
had  finished,  took  me  by  the  hand,  and  in  a  loud  voice,  presented 
me  to  the  people  as  his  "  beloved  son !  "  Besides  this,  the  best 
house  within  the  royal  inclosure  was  fitted  with  fresh  comforts 
for  my  lodging.  When  the  Fullah  chief  withdrew  from  the 
audience,  Ali-Ninpha  brought  in  the  mistress  of  Mohamedoo's 


160  CAPTAIN  canot;   or, 

harem,  who  acted  as  his  confidential  clerk,  and  we  speedily 
handed  over  the  six  pieces  of  cotton  and  an  abundant  supply  of 
tobacco  with  which  I  designed  to  propitiate  her  lord  and  master. 

Tired  of  the  dust,  crowd,  heat,  confinement  and  curiosity  of 
an  African  town,  I  was  glad  to  gulp  down  my  supper  of  broiled 
chickens  and  milk,  preparatory  to  a  sleepy  attack  on  my  couch 
of  rushes  spread  with  mats  and  skins.  Yet,  before  retiring  for 
the  night,  I  thought  it  well  to  refresh  my  jaded  frame  by  a  bath, 
■which  the  prince  had  ordered  to  be  prepared  in  a  small  court 
behind  my  chamber.  But  I  grieve  to  say,  that  my  modesty  was 
put  to  a  sore  trial,  when  I  began  to  unrobe.  Locks  and  latches 
are  unknown  in  this  free-and-easy  region.  It  had  been  noised 
abroad  among  the  dames  of  the  harem,  that  the  Furtoo  would 
probably  perform  his  ablutions  before  he  slept ;  so  that,  when  I 
entered  the  yard,  my  tub  was  surrounded  by  as  many  inquisitive 
eyes  as  the  dinner  table  of  Louis  the  Fourteenth,  when  sove- 
reigns dined  in  public.  As  I  could  not  speak  their  language,  I 
made  all  the  pantomimic  signs  of  graceful  supplication  that  com- 
monly soften  the  hearts  of  the  sex  on  the  stage,  hoping,  by  dumb 
show,  to  secure  my  privacy.  But  gestures  and  grimace  were 
unavailing.  I  then  made  bold  to  take  oflf  my  shirt,  leaving  my 
nether  garments  untouched.  Hitherto,  the  dames  had  seen  only 
my  bronzed  face  and  hands,  but  when  the  snowy  pallor  of  my 
breast  and  back  was  unveiled,  many  of  them  fled  incontinently, 
shouting  to  their  friends  to  "  come  and  see  the  peeled  Furtoo  ! " 
An  ancient  crone,  the  eldest  of  the  crew,  ran  her  hand  roughly 
across  the  fairest  portion  of  my  bosom,  and  looking  at  her  fin- 
gers with  disgust,  as  if  I  reeked  with  leprosy,  wiped  them  on 
the  wall.  As  displeasure  seemed  to  predominate  over  admira- 
tion, I  hoped  this  experiment  would  have  satisfied  the  inquest, 
but,  as  black  curiosity  exceeds  all  others,  the  wenches  continued 
to  linger,  chatter,  grin  and  feel,  until  I  was  forced  to  disappoint 
their  anxiety  for  further  disclosures,  by  an  abrupt  ''  good-night." 

We  tarried  in  Tamisso  three  days  to  recruit,  durmg  which  I 
was  liberally  entertained  oa  the  prince's  hospitable  mat,  where 
African  stews  of  relishing  flavor,  and  tender  fowls  smothered  in 
snowy  rice,  regaled  me  at  least  twice  in  every  twenty-four  hours. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  161 

Mohamedoo  fed  me  with  an  European  silver  spoon,  which,  he 
said,  came  from  among  the  effects  of  a  traveller  who,  many  years 
before,  died  far  in  the  interior.  In  all  his  life,  he  had  seen  but 
four  of  our  race  within  the  walls  of  Tamisso.  Their  names 
escaped  his  memory ;  but  the  last,  he  declared,  was  a  poor  and 
clever  youth,  probably  from  Senegal,  who  followed  a  powerful 
caravan,  and  "  read  the  Koran  like  a  mufti.'''' 

Tamisso  was  entirely  surrounded  by  a  tall  double  fence 
of  pointed  posts.  The  space  betwixt  the  inclosures,  which  were 
about  seven  feet  apart,  was  thickly  planted  with  smaller  spear- 
headed staves,  hardened  by  fire.  If  the  first  fence  was  leaped  by 
assailants,  they  met  a  cruel  reception  from  those  impaling  senti- 
nels. Three  gates  afforded  admission  to  different  sections  of  the 
town,  but  the  passage  through  them  consisted  of  zig-zags,  with 
loopholes  cut  judiciously  in  the  angles,  so  as  to  command  every 
point  of  access  to  the  narrow  streets  of  the  suburbs. 

The  parting  between  Mohamedoo  and  myself  was  friendly  in 
the  extreme.  Provisions  for  four  days  were  distributed  by  the 
prince  to  the  caravan,  and  he  promised  that  my  return  should  be 
welcomed  by  an  abundant  supply  of  slaves. 


162 


GHAPTEK    XXII. 

As  our  caravan  approached  the  Fullah  country,  and  got  into  the 
higher  lands,  where  the  air  was  invigorating,  I  found  its  pace 
improved  so  much  that  we  often  exceeded  twenty  miles  in  our 
daily  journey.  The  next  important  place  we  were  to  approach 
was  Jallica.  For  three  days,  our  path  coasted  the  southern 
edge  of  a  mountain  range,  whose  declivities  and  valleys  were 
filled  with  rivers,  brooks,  and  streamlets,  afi"ording  abundant 
irrigation  to  fields  teeming  with  vegetable  wealth.  The  popu- 
lation was  dense.  Frequent  caravans,  with  cattle  and  slaves, 
passed  us  on  their  way  to  various  marts.  Our  supplies  of  food 
were  plentiful.  A  leaf  of  tobacco  purchased  a  fowl ;  a  charge 
of  powder  obtained  a  basin  of  milk,  or  a  dozen  of  eggs ;  and  a 
large  sheep  cost  only  six  cents,  or  a  quart  of  salt. 

Five  days  after  quitting  Tamisso,  our  approach  to  Jallica 
was  announced ;  and  here,  as  at  our  last  resting  place,  it  was 
deemed  proper  to  halt  half  a  day  for  notice  and  ablution  before 
entering  a  city,  whose  chief — Suphiana — was  a  kinsman  of  Ali- 
Ninpha. 

The  distance  from  our  encampment  to  the  town  was  about 
three  miles  ;  but  an  hour  had  hardly  elapsed  after  our  arrival, 
when  the  deep  boom  of  the  war-drum  gave  token  that  our  mes- 
sage had  been  received  with  welcome.  I  was  prepared,  in  some 
measure,  for  a  display  of  no  ordinary  character  at  Jallica,  because 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  163 

my  Mandingo  friend,  Ali-Ninpha,  inhabited  the  town  in  his 
youth,  and  had  occupied  a  position  which  gave  importance  to  his 
name  throughout  Soolimana.  The  worthy  fellow  had  been  ab- 
sent many  years  from  Jallica,  and  wept  like  a  child  when  he 
heard  the  sound  of  the  war-drum.  Its  discordant  beat  had  the 
same  effect  on  the  savage  that  the  sound  of  their  village  bells 
has  on  the  spirit  of  returning  wanderers  in  civilized  lands. 
When  the  rattle  of  the  drum  was  over,  he  told  me  that  for  five 
years  he  controlled  that  very  instrument  in  Jallica,  during  which 
it  had  never  sounded  a  retreat  or  betokened  disaster.  In  peace 
it  was  never  touched,  save  for  public  rejoicing ;  and  the  authori- 
ties allowed  it  to  be  beaten  now  only  because  an  old  commander 
of  the  tribe  was  to  be  received  with  the  honors  due  to  his  rank 
and  service.  Whilst  we  were  still  conversing,  Suphiana's  lance- 
bearer  made  his  appearance,  and,  with  a  profound  salaam,  an- 
nounced that  the  "  gates  of  Jallica  were  open  to  the  Mandingo 
and  his  companions," 

^ofanda  or  refreshments  were  sent  with  the  welcome  ;  but 
when  the  caravan  got  within  fifty  yards  of  the  walls,  a  band  of 
shouting  warriors  marched  forth,  and  lifting  Ali-Ninpha  on  their 
shoulders,  bore  him  through  the  gates,  singing  war-songs,  accom- 
panied by  all  sorts  of  music  and  hubbub. 

I  had  purposely  lingered  with  my  men  in  the  rear  of  the 
great  body  of  Africans,  so  that  nearly  the  whole  caravan  passed 
the  portal  before  my  complexion — though  deeply  bronzed  by  ex- 
posure— made  me  known  to  the  crowd  as  a  white  man. 

Then,  instantly,  the  air  rang  with  the  sound  of — "  Furtoo  ! 
Furtoo  !  Furtoo  !  " — and  the  gate  was  slammed  in  our  faces, 
leaving  us  completely  excluded  from  guide  and  companions. 
But,  in  the  midst  of  his  exultant  reception,  Ali-Ninpha  did  not 
forget  the  Mongo  of  Kambia.  Hardly  had  he  attained  the  end 
of  the  street,  when  he  heard  the  cry  of  exclusion,  and  observed 
the  closing  portal.  By  this  time,  my  Fullah  friend  had  wrought 
himself  into  an  examplary  fit  of  Oriental  rage  with  the  inhos- 
pitable Mandingoes,  so  that  I  doubt  very  much  whether  he 
would  not  have  knocked  the  dust  from  his  sandals  on  the  gate  of 
Jallica,  had   not  Ali-Ninpha  rushed  through  the  wicket,    and 


164 

commanding  the  portal  to  be  reopened,  apologized  contritely  to 
the  Mahometan  and  myself. 

This  unfortunate  mistake,  or  accident,  not  only  caused  con- 
siderable delay,  but  rather  dampened  the  delight  of  our  party 
as  it  defiled  in  the  spacious  square  of  Jallica,  and  entered  the 
open  shed  which  was  called  a  '''■  palaver -house.''''  Its  vast  area 
was  densely  packed  with  a  fragrant  crowd  of  old  and  young, 
armed  with  muskets  or  spears.  All  wore  knives  or  cutlasses, 
slung  by  a  belt  high  up  on  their  necks  ;  while,  in  their  midst  sur- 
rounded by  a  court  of  veterans,  stood  Suphiana,  the  prince,  wait- 
ing our  arrival. 

In  front  marched  Ali-Ninpha,  preceded  by  a  numerous  band 
of  shrieking  and  twanging  minstrels.  As  he  entered  the  apart- 
ment, Suphiana  arose,  drew  his  sword,  and  embracing  the  stran- 
ger with  his  left  arm,  waved  the  shining  blade  over  his  head, 
with  the  other.  This  peculiar  accolade  was  imitated  by  each 
member  of  the  royal  council ;  while,  in  the  centre  of  the  square, 
the  war-drum, — a  hollowed  tree,  four  feet  in  diameter,  covered 
with  hides, — was  beaten  by  two  savages  with  slung-shot,  until  its 
thundering  reverberations  completely  deafened  us. 

You  may  imagine  my  joy  and  comfort  when  I  saw  the  Man- 
dingo  take  a  seat  near  the  prince,  as  a  signal  for  the  din's  cessa- 
tion. This,  however,  was  only  the  commencement  of  another 
prolonged  ceremonial ;  for  now  began  the  royal  review  and  salute 
in  honor  of  the  returned  commander.  During  two  hours,  an  un 
interrupted  procession  of  all  the  warriors,  chiefs,  and  head-men 
of  Jallica,  defiled  in  front  of  the  ancient  drum-major  ;  and,  as 
each  approached,  he  made  his  obeisance  by  pointing  a  spear  or 
weapon  at  my  landlord's  feet.  During  this  I  remained  on  horse- 
back without  notice  or  relief  from  the  authorities.  Ali-Ninpha, 
however,  saw  my  impatient  discomfort,  and  once  or  twice  de- 
spatched a  sly  message  to  preserve  my  good  humor.  The  cere- 
mony was  one  of  absolute  compulsion,  and  could  not  be  avoided 
without  discourtesy  to  the  prince  and  his  countrymen.  As  soon 
as  he  could  escape,  however,  he  hastened  over  the  court-yard  to 
assist  me  in  dismounting ;  and  dashing  the  rude  crowd  right  and 
left,  led  me  to  his  kinsman  Suphiana.     The  prince  extended  his 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  165 

royal  hand  in  token  of  amity ;  Ali-Ninpha  declared  me  to  be 
his  ''  son ; "  while  the  long  string  of  compliments  and  panegyrics 
he  pronounced  upon  my  personal  qualities,  moral  virtues,  and 
wealth,  brought  down  a  roar  of  grunts  by  way  of  applause  from 
the  toad-eating  courtiers. 

Jallica  was  a  fairer  town  than  any  I  had  hitherto  encounter- 
ed in  my  travels.  Its  streets  were  wider,  its  houses  better,  its 
people  more  civil.  No  one  intruded  on  the  friend  of  Ali-Ninpha, 
and  guest  of  Suphiana.  I  bathed  without  visits  from  inquisitive 
females.  My  house  was  my  castle ;  and,  when  I  stirred  abroad, 
two  men  preceded  me  with  rattans  to  keep  my  path  clear  from 
women  and  children. 

After  lounging  about  quietly  for  a  couple  of  days,  wearing 
away  fatigue,  and  getting  rid  of  the  stains  of  travel,  I  thought 
it  advisable  to  drop  in  one  morning,  unannounced,  after  break- 
fast, at  Suphiaua's  with  the  presents  that  are  customary  in  the 
east.  As  the  guest, — during  my  whole  journey, — of  the  Ali- 
Mami,  or  King  of  Foota-Yallon,  I  was  entirely  exempt  by  cus- 
tomary law  from  this  species  of  tax,  nor  would  my  Fullah  pro- 
tector have  allowed  me  to  offer  a  tribute  had  he  known  it ; — yet, 
I  always  took  a  secret  opportunity  to  present  a  voluntary  giftj 
for  I  wished  my  memory  to  smell  sweet  along  my  track  in  Africa. 
Suphiana  fully  appreciated  my  generosity  under  the  circum- 
stances, and  returned  the  civility  by  an  invitation  to  dinner 
at  the  house  of  his  principal  wife.  When  the  savory  feast 
with  which  he  regaled  me  was  over,  female  singers  were  intro- 
duced for  a  concert.  Their  harps  were  triangles  of  wood,  cord- 
ed with  fibres  of  cane  ;  their  banjoes  consisted  of  gourds  covered 
with  skin  pierced  by  holes,  and  strung  like  the  harps  ;  but,  I 
confess,  that  I  can  neither  rave  nor  go  into  ecstasies  over  the  com- 
bined effect  which  saluted  me  from  such  instruments  or  such 
voices.  I  was  particularly  struck,  however,  by  one  of  their  in- 
ventions, which  slightly  resembles  the  harmonica  I  have  seen 
played  by  children  in  this  country.  A  board,  about  two  feet 
square,  was  bordered  by  a  light  frame  at  two  ends,  across  which 
a  couple  of  cane  strings  were  tightly  stretched.    On  these,  strips 


166  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

of  nicely  trimmed  bamboo,  gradually  diminishing  in  size  from 
left  to  right,  were  placed  ;  whilst  beneath  them,  seven  gourds, 
also  gradually  decreasing,  were  securely  fastened  to  mellow  the 
sound.  The  instrument  was  carried  by  a  strap  round  the  player's 
neck,  and  was  struck  by  two  small  wooden  hammers  softened  by 
some  delicate  substance. 

One  of  the  prettiest  girls  in  the  bevy  had  charge  of  this 
African  piano,  and  was  said  to  be  renowned  for  uncommon  skill. 
Her  feet,  hands,  wrists,  elbows,  ankles,  and  knees,  were  strung 
with  small  silvery  bells ;  and,  as  the  gay  damsel  was  dancer  and 
singer  as  well  as  musician,  she  seemed  to  reek  with  sound  from 
every  pore.  Many  of  her  attitudes  would  probably  have  been, 
at  least,  more  picturesque  and  decent  for  drapery ;  but,  in  Jai- 
lica,  Madoo,  the  ayah^  was  considered  a  Mozart  in  composition, 
a  Lind  in  melody,  and  a  Taglioni  on  the  "  light  fantastic 
toe  !  " 

When  the  performance  closed,  Suphiana  presented  her  a 
slave ;  and,  as  she  made  an  obeisance  to  me  in  passing,  I  handed 
her  my  bowie-knife^  promising  to  redeem  it  at  my  lodgings  with 
ten  pounds  of  tobacco  ! 

Some  superstitious  notions  about  the  state  of  the  moon  pre- 
vented my  Fullah  guide  from  departing  as  soon  as  I  desired ; 
but  while  we  were  dallying  with  the  planet,  Ali-Ninpha  became 
so  ill  that  he  was  compelled  to  halt  and  end  the  journey  in  his 
favorite  Jallica.  I  rather  suspected  the  Mandiugo  to  feign 
more  suffering  than  he  really  experienced,  and  I  soon  discover- 
ed that  his  malady  was  nothing  but  a  sham.  In  truth,  Ali- 
Ninpha  had  duped  so  many  Fullah  traders  on  the  beach,  and 
owed  them  the  value  of  so  many  slaves,  that  he  found  it  extreme- 
ly inconvenient,  if  not  perilous,  to  enter  the  domain  of  the  Ali- 
Mami  of  Footha-Yallon  ! 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER,  167 


CHAPTER    XXIII. 

A  MESSENGER  was  despatched  from  Jallica,  in  advance  of  our 
departure,  to  announce  our  approach  to  Tirabo.  For  six  days 
more,  our  path  led  over  hill  and  dale,  and  through  charming 
valleys,  fed  by  gentle  streamlets  that  nourished  the  vigorous 
vegetation  of  a  mountain  land. 

As  vre  crossed  the  last  summits  that  overlooked  the  territory 
of  Footha-Yallon,  a  broad  plateau,  whence  a  wide  range  of  coun- 
try might  be  beheld,  was  filled  with  bands  of  armed  men,  afoot 
and  on  horseback,  while  a  dozen  animals  were  held  in  tether  by 
their  gayly  dressed  attendants.  I  dashed  to  the  head  of  the 
caravan  on  my  jaded  beast,  and  reached  it  just  in  time  to 
find  the  sable  arms  of  Ahmah-de-Bellah  opening  to  greet  me ! 
The  generous  youth,  surrounded  by  his  friends  and  escorted  by 
a  select  corps  of  soldiers  and  slaves,  had  come  thus  far  on  the 
path  to  offer  the  prince's  welcome  ! 

I  greeted  the  Mahometan  with  the  fervor  of  ancient  love ; 
and,  in  a  moment,  we  were  all  dismounted  and  on  our  knees ; 
while,  at  a  signal  from  the  chief,  profound  silence  reigned 
throughout  the  troop  and  caravan.  Every  eye  was  turned  across 
the  distant  plain  to  the  east.  An  air  of  profoundest  devotion 
subdued  the  multitude,  and,  in  a  loud  chant,  Ahmah-de-Bel- 
lah, with  outstretched  arms  and  upraised  face,  sang  forth  a 
psalm  of  gratitude  to  Allah  for  the  safety  of  his  "  brother." 


168  CAPTAIN  canot:  or, 

The  surprise  of  this  complimentary  reception  was  not  only 
delightful  as  an  evidence  of  African  character  among  these  more 
civilized  tribes  of  the  Mahometan  interior,  but  it  gave  me  an 
assurance  of  security  and  trade,  which  was  very  acceptable  to  one 
so  far  within  the  bowels  of  the  land.  We  were  still  a  day's 
journey  from  the  capitah  Ahraah-de-Bellah  declared  it  impos- 
sible, with  all  the  diligence  we  could  muster,  to  reach  Timbo 
without  another  halt.  Nevertheless,  as  he  was  extremely  solicit- 
ous to  bring  us  to  our  travel's  end,  he  not  only  supplied  my  per- 
sonal attendants  with  fresh  horses,  but  ordered  carriers  from 
his  own  guard  to  charge  themselves  with  the  entire  luggage  of 
our  caravan. 

Thus  relieved  of  burden,  our  party  set  forth  on  the  path  in 
a  brisk  trot,  and  resting  after  dark  for  several  hours  in  a  village, 
we  entered  Timbo  unceremoniously  before  daybreak  while  its 
inhabitants  were  still  asleep. 

I  was  immediately  conducted  to  a  house  specially  built  for 
me,  surrounded  by  a  high  wall  to  protect  my  privacy  from  in- 
trusion. Within,  I  found  a  careful  duplicate  of  all  the  humble 
comforts  in  my  domicil  on  the  Rio  Pongo.  Tables,  sofas,  plates, 
knives,  forks,  tumblers,  pitchers,  basins, — had  all  been  purchased 
by  my  friend,  and  forwarded  for  this  establishment,  from  other 
factories  without  my  knowledge ;  while  the  centre  of  the  main 
apartment  was  decorated  with  an  "  American  rocking-chair," 
which  the  natives  had  ingeniously  contrived  of  rattans  and  bam- 
boo !  Such  pleasant  evidences  of  refined  attention  were  more 
remarkable  and  delicate,  because  most  of  the  articles  are  not 
used  by  Mahometans.  "  These,  I  hope,"  said  Ahmah-de-Bellah, 
as  he  led  me  to  a  seat,  "  will  make  you  comparatively  comfort- 
able while  you  please  to  dwell  with  your  brother  in  Timbo. 
You  have  no  thanks  to  return,  because  I  have  not  treated  you 
like  a  native  Mussulman ;  for  you  were  kind  enough  to  remember 
all  my  own  little  nationalities  when  I  was  your  guest  on  the 
beach.  Allah  be  praised  for  your  redemption  and  arrival ; — and 
so,  brother,  take  your  rest  in  peace  within  the  realm  of  the  Ali- 
Mami,  your  father  !  " 

I  embraced  the  generous  fellow  with  as  much  cordiality  as  if 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  169 

he  had  been  a  kinsman  from  the  sweet  valley  of  Arno.  During  his 
visit  to  my  factory  he  was  particularly  charmed  with  an  old 
dressing-gown  I  used  for  my  siestas,  and  when  I  resolved  on  this 
journey,  I  caused  an  improved  copy  of  it  to  be  made  by  one  of 
the  most  skilful  artists  on  the  river.  A  flashy  pattern  of  calico 
was  duly  cut  into  rather  ampler  form  than  is  usual  among  our 
dandies.  This  was  charmingly  lined  with  sky-blue,  and  set  off 
at  the  edges  with  broad  bands  of  glaring  yellow.  The  effect  of 
the  whole,  indeed,  was  calculated  to  strike  an  African  fancy ;  so 
that,  when  1  drew  the  garment  from  my  luggage,  and  threw  it, 
together  with  a  fine  white  ruflBed  shirt,  over  the  shoulders  of 
"  my  brother,"  I  thought  the  pious  Mussulman  would  have  gone 
wild  with  delight.  He  hugoced  me  a  dozen  times  with  the 
gripe  of  a  tiger,  and  probably  would  have  kissed  quite  as 
lustily,  had  I  not  deprecated  any  further  ebullitions  of  bodily 
gratitude. 

A  bath  erased  not  only  the  dust  of  travel  from  my  limbs,  but 
seemed  to  extract  even  the  memory  of  its  toils  from  my  bones 
and  muscles.  Ahmah-de-Bellah  intimated  that  the  Ali-Mami 
would  soon  be  prepared  to  receive  me  without  ceremony.  The 
old  gentleman  was  confined  by  dropsy  in  his  lower  extremities, 
and  probably  found  it  uncomfortable  to  sustain  the  annoyance  of 
public  life  except  when  absolutely  necessary.  The  burden  of 
my  entertainment  and  glorification,  therefore,  was  cast  on  the 
shoulders  of  his  younger  kinsfolk,  for  which,  I  confess,  I  was 
proportionally  grateful.  Accordingly,  when  I  felt  perfectly  refresh- 
ed, I  arose  from  my  matted  sofa,  and  dressing  for  the  first  timu 
in  more  than  a  month  in  a  perfectly  clean  suit,  I  donned  a  snowy 
shirt,  a  pair  of  dashing  drills,  Parisian  pumps,  and  a  Turkish 
fez^  tipped  with  a  copious  tassel.  Our  interpreters  were  clad  in 
fresh  Mandingo  dresses  adorned  with  extra  embroidery.  My 
body-servant  was  ordered  to  appear  in  a  cast-off  suit  of  my  own ; 
so  that,  when  I  gave  one  my  double-barrelled  gun  to  carry,  and 
armed  the  others  with  my  pistols,  and  a  glittering  regulation- 
sword, — designed  as  a  gift  for  the  Ali-Mami, — I  presented  a 
very  respectable  and  picturesque  appearance  for  a  gentleman 
abroad  on  his  travels  in  the  East.  The  moment  I  issued  with 
8 


170  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

my  train  from  the  house,  a  crowd  of  Fullahs  was  ready  to  re 
ceive  me  with  exclamations  of  chattering  surprise ;  still  I  was 
not  annoyed,  as  elsewhere,  by  the  unfailing  concourse  that  fol- 
lowed my  footsteps  or  clogged  my  pathway. 

The  "  palace  "  of  the  Ali-Mami  of  Footha-Yallon,  like  all 
African  palaces  in  this  region,  was  an  adobe  hovel,  surrounded 
by  its  portico  shed,  and  protected  by  a  wall  from  the  intrusion 
of  the  common  herd.  In  front  of  the  dwelling,  beneath  the 
shelter  of  the  verandah,  on  a  fleecy  pile  of  sheepskin  mats,  re- 
clined the  veteran,  whose  swollen  and  naked  feet  were  under- 
going a  cooling  process  from  the  palm-leaf  fans  of  female  slaves. 
I  marched  up  boldly  in  front  of  him  with  my  military  suite,  and, 
making  a  profound  salaam,  was  presented  by  Ahmah  de-Bellah 
as  his  "  white  brother."  The  Ali  at  once  extended  both  hands, 
and,  grasping  mine,  drew  me  beside  him  on  the  sheepskin. 
Then,  looking  intently  over  my  face  and  into  the  very  depth 
of  my  eyes,  he  asked  gently  ^ith  a  smile — "  what  was  my 
name  ?  " 

"  Ahmah-de-Bellah  !  "  replied  I,  after  the  fashion  of  the 
country.  As  I  uttered  the  Mahometan  appellation,  for  which  I 
had  exchanged  my  own  with  his  son  at  Kambia,  the  old  man, 
who  still  held  my  hands,  put  one  of  his  arms  round  my  waist, 
and  pressed  me  still  closer  to  his  side; — then,  lifting  both  arms 
extended  to  heaven,  he  repeated  several  times, — God  is  great ! 
God  is  great !  God  is  great ! — and  Mahomet  is  his  Prophet !  " 

This  was  followed  by  a  grand  inquest  in  regard  to  myself 
and  history.  Who  was  my  father  ?  Who  was  my  mother  ? 
How  many  brothers  had  I  ?  Were  they  warriors  ?  Were  they 
'•  book-men  ?  "  Why  did  I  travel  so  far  ?  What  delay  would 
I  make  in  Footha  Yallon  ?  Was  my  dwelling  comfortable  ? 
Had  I  been  treated  with  honor,  respect  and  attention  on  my 
journey  ?  And,  last  of  all,  the  prince  sincerely  hoped  that  I 
would  find  it  convenient  to  dwell  with  him  during  the  whole  of 
the  "  rainy  season." 

Several  times,  in  the  midst  of  these  interrogations,  the  patri- 
arch groaned,  and  I  could  perceive,  from  the  pain  that  flitted 
like  a  shadow  over  the  nerves  and  muscles  of  his  face,  that  he 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  171 

was  suffering  severely,  and,  of  course,  I  cut  the  interview  as  short 
as  oriental  etiquette  would  allow.  He  pressed  me  once  more  to 
his  bosom,  and  speaking  to  the  interpreter,  bade  him  tell  his 
master,  the  Furtoo,  that  any  thing  I  fancied  in  the  realm  was 
mine.  Slaves,  horses,  cattle,  stuffs, — all  were  at  my  disposal. 
Then,  pointing  to  his  son,  he  said  :  "  Ahmah-de-Bellah,  the  white 
man  is  our  guest ;  his  brother  will  take  heed  for  his  wants,  and. 
redress  every  complaint." 

The  prince  was  a  man  of  sixty  at  least.  His  stature  was 
noble  and  commanding,  if  not  absolutely  gigantic, — being  several 
mches  over  six  feet, — while  his  limbs  and  bulk  were  in  perfect 
proportion.  His  oval  head,  of  a  rich  mahogany  color,  was 
quite  bald  to  the  temples,  and  covered  by  a  turban,  whose 
ends  depended  in  twin  folds  along  his  cheeks.  The  contour  of 
his  features  was  remarkably  regular,  though  his  lips  were  rather 
full,  and  his  nose  somewhat  flat,  yet  free  from  the  disgusting 
depression  and  cavities  of  the  negro  race.  His  forehead  was 
high  and  perpendicular,  while  his  mouth  glistened  with  ivory 
when  he  spoke  or  smiled.  I  had  frequent  opportunities  to  talk 
with  the  king  afterwards,  and  was  always  delighted  by  the  affec- 
tionate simplicity  of  his  demeanor.  As  it  was  the  country's  cus- 
tom to  educate  the  first-born  of  royalty  for  the  throne,  the  Ali- 
Mami  of  Footha-Yallon  had  been  brought  up  almost  within  the 
precincts  of  the  mosque.  I  found  the  prince,  therefore,  more  of 
a  meditative  "  book-man "  than  warrior  ;  while  the  rest  of  his 
family,  and  especially  his  younger  brothers,  had  never  been 
exempt  from  military  duties,  at  home  or  abroad.  Like  a  good 
Mussulman,  the  sovereign  was  a  quiet,  temperate  gentleman, 
never  indulging  in  "  bitters  "  or  any  thing  stronger  than  a  drink 
fermented  from  certain  roots,  and  sweetened  to  resemble  mead. 
His  intercourse  with  me  was  always  affable  and  solicitous  for  my 
comfort ;  nor  did  he  utter  half  a  dozen  sentences  without  inter- 
larding them  with  fluent  quotations  from  the  Koran.  Some- 
times, in  the  midst  of  a  pleasant  chat  in  which  he  was  wondering 
at  my  curiosity  and  taste  for  information  about  new  lands,  he 
would  suddenly  break  off  because  it  was  his  hour  for  prayer  ;  at 
others,  he  would  end   the  interview  quite   as  unceremoniously, 


172  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

because  it  was  time  for  ablution.  Thus,  between  praying,  wash- 
ing, eating,  sleeping,  slave  dealing,  and  fanning  his  dropsical 
feet,  the  life  of  the  Ali-Mami  passed  monotonously  enough  even 
for  an  oriental  prince  ;  but  I  doubt  not,  the  same  childish  routine 
is  still  religiously  pursued,  unless  it  has  pleased  Allah  to  sum- 
mon the  faithful  prince  to  the  paradise  of  "  true  believers."  I 
could  never  make  him  understand  how  a  ship  might  be  built 
large  enough  to  hold  provisions  for  a  six  months'  voyage  ;  and, 
as  to  the  sea,  '•  it  was  a  mystery  that  none  but  God  and  a  white 
man  could  solve  !  " 

As  I  was  to  breakfast  on  the  day  of  my  arrival  at  the  dwell- 
ing of  Ahmah-de-Bellah's  mother,  after  my  presentation  to  the 
prince  her  husband,  I  urged  the  footsteps  of  my  companion  with 
no  little  impatience  as  soon  as  I  got  out  of  the  royal  hearing. 
My  fast  had  been  rather  longer  than  comfortable,  even  in  obedi- 
ence to  royal  etiquette.  However,  we  were  soon  within  the 
court-yard  of  her  sable  ladyship,  who,  though  a  dame  of  fifty  at 
least,  persisted  in  hiding  her  charms  of  face  and  bosom  beneath 
a  capacious  cloth.  Nevertheless,  she  welcomed  me  quite  ten- 
derly. She  called  me  "  Ahmah-de-Bellah-Theodoree," — and, 
with  her  own  hands,  mixed  the  dainties  on  which  we  were  to 
breakfast  while  cosily  squatted  on  the  mats  of  her  verandah. 
Our  food  was  simple  enough  for  the  most  dyspeptic  homoeopa- 
thist.  Milk  and  rice  were  alternated  with  bonney-clabber  and 
honey,  seasoned  by  frequent  words  of  hospitable  encouragement. 
The  frugal  repast  was  washed  down  by  calabashes  of  cool  water, 
which  were  handed  round  by  naked  damsels,  whose  beautiful 
limbs  might  have  served  as  models  for  an  artist. 

AVhen  the  meal  was  finished,  I  hoped  that  the  day's  ceremo- 
nial was  over,  but,  to  my  dismay,  I  discovered  that  the  most 
formal  portion  of  my  reception  was  yet  to  come. 

'•  We  will  now  hasten,"  said  Ahmah-de-Bellah,  as  I  salaamed 
his  mamma,  "  to  the  palaver-ground,  where  I  am  sure  our  chiefs 
are,  by  this  time,  impatient  to  see  you."  Had  I  been  a  feeble 
instead  of  a  robust  campaigner,  I  would  not  have  resisted  the 
intimation,  or  desired  a  postponement  of  the  "  palaver ;  "  so  I 
*'  took    my  brother's  "  arm,  and,  followed  by  my  cortege,  pro- 


TWEN1\     YJCA"-     OF    AX    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  173 

ceeded  to  the  interview  iLat  was  to  take  place  beyond  the  walls, 
in  an  exquisite  grove  of  cotton-wood  and  tamarind-trees,  appro- 
priated to  this  sort  of  town-meeting.  Here  I  found  a  vast  assem- 
blage of  burghers  :  and  in  their  midst,  squatted  ou  sheepskins, 
was  a  select  ring  oi patrcs  conscripti,  presided  by  Sulimani-Ali, 
son  of  the  king,  and  brother  of  my  companion. 

As  the  Fullah  presented  me  to  his  warrior-kinsman,  he  rose 
with  a  profound  salutation,  and  taking  my  hand,  led  me  to  a 
rock,  covered  with  a  white  napkin, — the  seat  of  honor  for  an 
eminent  stranger.  The  moment  I  was  placed,  the  chiefs  sprang 
up  and  each  one  grasped  ray  hand,  bidding  me  welcome  tlirice. 
Ahmah-de-Bellah  stood  patiently  beside  me  until  this  ceremony 
was  over,  and  each  noble  resumed  his  sheepskin.  Then,  taking 
a  long  cane  from  the  eldest  of  the  group,  he  stepped  forward, 
saluted  the  assembly  three  times,  thrice  invoked  Allah,  and  in- 
troduced me  to  the  chiefs  and  multitude  as  his  "  brother."  I 
came,  he  said,  to  Footha-Yallon  ou  his  invitation,  and  by  the  ex- 
press consent  of  his  beloved  king  and  father,  and  of  his  beloved 
elder  brother,  Sulimani.  He  hoped,  therefore,  that  every 
"  head-man  "  present  would  see  the  rites  of  hospitality  faithfully 
exercised  to  his  white  brother  while  he  dwelt  in  Footha.  There 
were  many  reasons  that  he  could  give  why  this  should  be  done ; 
but  he  would  rest  content  with  stating  only  three.  First  of  all : 
I  was  nearly  as  good  a  Mussulman  as  many  Mandingoes,  and  he 
knew  the  fact,  because  U.c  had  converted  me  himself  I  Secondly: 
I  was  entitled  to  every  sort  of  courtesy  from  Fullahs,  because  I 
was  a  rich  trader  from  the  Rio  Pongo.  And,  thirdly  :  I  had 
penetrated  even  to  this  very  heart  of  Africa  to  purchase  slaves 
for  most  liberal  prices. 

It  is  the  custom  in  African  "  palavers,"  as  well  as  among 
African  religionists,  to  give  token  of  assent  by  a  sigh,  a  groan, 
a  slight  exclamation,  or  a  shout,  when  any  thing  affecting,  agree- 
able, or  touching  is  uttered  by  a  speaker.  Now,  when  my  Ful- 
lah brother  informed  his  friends  of  my  arrival,  my  name,  my 
demand  for  hospitality,  and  my  Avcalth,  the  grunts  and  groans  of 
the  assembly  augmented  in  number  and  volume  as  he  went  on  ; 
but  when  they  heard  of  my  design  "to  purchase  slaves,''^  a  climax 


174  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

was    reached    at   once,  and,  as   with    one   voice,   they   shouted . 
"  May  the  Lord  of  heaven  be  praised  !  " 

I  smothered  a  laugh  and  strangled  a  smile  as  well  as  I  could, 
when  my  interpreters  expounded  the  "stump  speech  "  of  Ahmah- 
de-Bellah ;  and  I  lost  no  time  in  directing  them  to  display  the 
presents  which  some  of  my  retainers,  in  the  meanwhile,  had 
brought  to  the  grove.  They  consisted  of  several  packages  of 
blue  and  white  calicoes,  ten  yards  of  brilliant  scarlet  cloth,  six 
kegs  of  powder,  three  hundred  pounds  of  tobacco,  two  strings 
of  amber  beads,  and  six  muskets.  On  a  beautiful  rug,  I  set  aside 
the  gilded  sword  and  o,  ^package  of  cantharides^  designed  for  the 
king. 

When  my  arrangement  was  over,  Sulimani  took  the  cane  from 
his  brother,  and  stepping  forward,  said  that  the  gifts  to  which  he 
pointed  proved  the  truth  of  Ahmah-de-Bellah's  words,  and  that 
a  rich  man,  indeed,  had  come  to  Footha-Yallon.  Nay,  more  ; — 
the  rich  man  wanted  slaves  !  Was  I  not  generous  ?  I  was  their 
guest,  and  owed  them  no  tribute  or  duties  :  and  yet,  had  I  not 
voluntarily  lavished  my  presents  upon  the  chiefs  ?  Next  day, 
his  father  would  personally  distribute  my  offering ;  but,  whilst  I 
dwelt  in  Footlia,  a  bullock  and  ten  baskets  of  rice  should  daily  be 
furnished  for  my  caravan's  support ;  and,  as  every  chief  would 
partake  my  bounty,  each  one  should  contribute  to  my  comfort. 

This  speech,  like  the  former,  was  hailed  with  grunts  ;  but  I 
could  not  help  noticing  that  the  vote  of  supplies  was  not  cheered 
half  as  lustily  as  the  announcement  of  my  larges&e. 

The  formalities  being  over,  the  inquisitive  head-men  crowded 
round  the  presents  with  as  much  eagerness  as  aspirants  for  office 
at  a  presidential  inauguration.  The  merchandise  was  inspected, 
felt,  smelled,  counted,  measured,  and  set  aside.  The  rug  an  J 
the  sword,  being  royal  gifts,  were  delicately  handled.  But  when 
the  vials  of  cantharides  were  unpacked,  and  their  contents  an- 
nounced, each  of  the  chieftains  insisted  that  his  majesty  should 
not  monopolize  the  coveted  stimulant.  A  sharp  dispute  on  the 
subject  arose  between  the  princes  and  the  councillors ,  so  that  I 
was  forced  to  interfere  through  the  interpreters,  who  could  only 
quiet  the  rebels  by  the  promise  of  a  dozen  additional  flasks  for 
.their  private  account. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  175 

In  the  midst  of  the  wrangling,  Sulimani  and  Ahmah  ordered 
their  father's  slaves  to  carry  the  gifts  to  the  Ali-Mami's  palace  ; 
and,  taking  me  between  thsm,  we  raarcted,  arm  in  arm,  to  my 
domicil.  Here  I  found  Abdulmomen  Ali,  another  son  of  the 
king,  waiting  for  his  brothers  to  present  him  to  the  Mongo  of 
Kambia.  Abdulmomen  was  introduced  as  "  a  learned  divine," 
and  began  at  once  to  talk  Koran  in  the  most  77iufli-\i]:e  manner. 
I  had  made  such  sorry  improvement  in  Mahometanism  since 
Ahmah-de-Bellah's  departure  from  the  Rio  Pongo,  that  I  thought 
it  safest  to  sit  silent,  as  if  under  the  deepest  fervor  of  Mussul- 
man conviction.  I  soon  found  that  Abdulmomen,  like  many 
more  clergymen,  was  willing  enough  to  do  all  the  preaching, 
whenever  he  found  an  unresisting  listener.  I  put  on  a  look  of 
very  intelligent  assent  and  thankfulness  to  all  the  arguments 
and  commentaries  of  my  black  brother,  and  in  this  way  I  avoided 
the  detection  of  my  ignorance,  as  many  a  better  man  has  probably 
done  before  me ! 


176  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 


CHAPTEK    XXIV. 

TiMBo  lies  on  a  rulling  plain.  North  of  it,  a  lofty  mountain 
range  rises  at  the  distance  of  ten  or  fifteen  miles,  and  sweeps 
eastwardly  to  the  horizon.  The  landscape,  which  declines  from 
these  slopes  to  the  south,  is  in  many  places  bare  ;  yet  fields  of 
plentiful  cultivation,  groves  of  cotton-wood,  tamarind  and  oak, 
thickets  of  shrubbery  and  frequent  villages,  stud  its  surface,  and 
impart  an  air  of  rural  comfort  to  the  picturesque  scene. 

I  soon  proposed  a  gallop  with  my  African  kindred  over  the 
neighborhood  ;  and,  one  fine  morning,  after  a  plentiful  breakfast 
of  stewed  fowls,  boiled  to  rags  with  rice,  and  seasoned  with 
delicious  '-palavra  sauce,"  we  cantered  off  to  the  distant  villages. 
As  we  approached  the  first  brook,  but  before  the  fringe  of  screen- 
ing bushes  was  passed,  our  cavalcade  drew  rein  abruptly,  while 
Ahmah-de-Bellah  cried  out  :  "  Strangers  are  coming  !  "  A  few 
moments  after,  as  we  slowly  crossed  the  stream,  I  noticed  several 
women  crouched  in  the  underwood,  having  lied  from  the  bath. 
This  warning  is  universally  given,  and  enforced  by  law,  to  guard 
the  modesty  of  the  gentler  sex. 

In  half  an  hour  we  reached  the  first  suburban  village  ;  but 
fame  had  preceded  us  with  my  character,  and  as  the  settlement 
was  cultivated  either  by  serfs  or  negroes  liable  to  be  made  so, 
we  found  the  houses  bare.     The  poor  wretches  had  learned,  on 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  177 

the  day  of  my  reception,  that  the  principal  object  of  my  journey 
was  to  obtain  slaves,  and,  of  course,  they  imagined  that  the  only 
object  of  my  foray  in  their  neighborhood,  was  to  seize  the  gang 
and  bear  it  abroad  in  bondage.  Accordingly,  we  tarried  only  a 
few  minutes  in  Findo,  and  dashed  off  to  Furo  ;  but  here,  too, 
the  blacks  had  been  panic-struck,  and  escaped  so  hurriedly  that 
they  left  their  pots  of  rice,  vegetables,  and  meat  boiling  in  their 
sheds.  Furo  was  absolutely  stripped  of  inhabitants  ;  the  vete- 
ran chief  of  the  village  did  not  even  remain  to  do  the  honors 
for  his  affrighted  brethren.  Ahmah-de-Bellah  laughed  heartily 
at  the  terror  I  inspired  ;  but  I  confess  I  could  not  help  feeling 
sadly  mortified  when  I  found  my  presence  shunned  as  a  pesti- 
lence. 

The  native  villages  through  which  I  passed  on  this  excursion 
manifested  the  great  comfort  in  which  these  Africans  live  through- 
out their  prolific  land,  when  unassailed  by  the  desolating  wars 
that  are  kept  up  for  slave-trade.  It  was  the  height  of  the  dry 
season,  when  every  thing  was  parched  by  the  sun,  yet  I  could 
trace  the  outlines  of  fine  plantations,  gardens,  and  rice-fields. 
Every  where  I  found  abundance  of  peppers,  onions,  garlic,  to- 
matoes, sweet  potatoes,  and  cassava,  while  tasteful  fences  were 
garlanded  with  immense  vines  and  flowers.  Fowls,  goats,  sheep, 
and  oxen,  stalked  about  in  innumerable  flocks,  and  from  every 
domicil  depended  a  paper,  inscribed  with  a  charm  from  the  Koran 
to  keep  off  thieves  and  witches. 

My  walks  through  Timbo  were  promoted  by  the  constant 
efforts  of  my  entertainers  to  shield  me  from  intrusive  curiosity. 
Whenever  I  sallied  forth,  two  townsfolk  in  authority  were  sent 
forward  to  warn  the  public  that  the  Furtoo  desired  to  promenade 
without  a  mob  at  his  heels.  These  lusty  criers  stationed  them- 
selves at  the  corners  with  an  iron  triangle,  which  they  rattled  to 
call  attention  to  the  king's  command  ;  and,  in  a  short  time,  the 
highways  were  so  clear  of  people,  who  feared  a  bastinado,  that  I 
found  my  loneliness  rather  disagreeable  than  otherwise.  Every 
person  I  saw,  shunned  me.  When  I  called  the  children  or 
little  girls, — they  fled  from  me.  My  reputation  as  a  slaver  in 
the  villages,  and  the  fear  of  a  lash  in  the  town,  furnished  mo 
8* 


178  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

much  more  solitude  than  is  generally  agreeable  to  a  sensitive 
traveller. 

Towards  night-fall  I  left  my  companions,  and  wrapping  my- 
self closely  in  a  Mandingo  dress,  stole  away  through  bye-ways 
to  a  brook  which  runs  by  the  town  walls.  Thither  the  females 
resort  at  sunset  to  draw  water ;  and,  choosing  a  screened  situa- 
tion, where  I  would  not  be  easily  observed,  I  watched,  for 
more  than  an  hour,  the  graceful  children,  girls,  and  women  of 
Timbo,  as  they  performed  this  domestic  task  of  eastern  lands. 

I  was  particularly  impressed  by  the  general  beauty  of  the 
sex,  who,  in  many  respects,  resembled  the  Moor  rather  than  the 
negro.  Unaware  of  a  stranger's  presence,  they  came  forth  as 
usual  in  a  simple  dress  which  covers  their  body  from  waist  to 
knee,  and  leaves  the  rest  of  the  figure  entirely  naked.  Group 
after  group  gathered  together  on  the  brink  of  the  brook  in  the 
slanting  sunlight  and  lengthening  shadows  of  the  plain.  Some 
rested  on  their  pitchers  and  water  vessels;  some  chatted,  or 
leaned  on  each  other  gracefully,  listening  to  the  chat  of  friends ; 
some  stooped  to  fill  their  jars ;  others  lifted  the  brimming 
vessels  to  their  sisters'  shoulders — while  others  strode  home- 
ward singing,  with  their  charged  utensils  poised  on  head  or 
hand.  Their  slow,  stately,  swinging  movement  under  the  burden, 
was  grace  that  might  be  envied  on  a  Spanish  paseo.  I  do  not 
think  the  forms  of  these  Fullah  girls, — with  their  complexions  of 
freshest  bronze, — are  exceeded  in  symmetry  by  the  women  of  any 
other  country.  There  was  a  slender  delicacy  of  limb,  waist,  neck, 
hand,  foot,  and  bosom,  which  seemed  to  be  the  type  that  mould- 
ed every  one  of  them.  I  saw  none  of  the  hanging  breast ;  the 
flat,  expanded  nostrils  ;  the  swollen  lips,  and  fillet-like  foreheads, 
that  characterize  the  Soosoos  and  their  sisters  of  the  coast.  None 
were  deformed,  nor  were  any  marked  by  traces  of  disease. 
I  may  observe,  moreover,  that  the  male  FuUahs  of  Timbo  are 
impressed  on  my  memory  by  a  beauty  of  form,  which  almost 
equals  that  of  the  women ;  and,  in  fact,  the  only  fault  I  found 
with  them  was  their  minute  resemblance  to  the  feminine  de- 
licacy of  the  other  sex.  They  made  up,  however,  in  courage 
what  they  lacked  in  form,  for  their  manly  spirit  has  made  them 


"^ii^iiiiii'iaillijliiiit" 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  179 

renowned  among  all  the   tribes  they  have  so  long  controlled  by 
distinguished  bravery  and  perseverance. 

The  patriarchal  landscape  by  the  brook,  with  the  Oriental 
girls  over  their  water-jars,  and  the  lowing  cattle  in  the  pastures, 
brought  freshly  to  my  mind  many  a  Bible  scene  T  heard  my 
mother  read  when  I  was  a  boy  at  home ;  and  I  do  not  know 
what  revolution  might  have  been  wrought  on  my  spirit  had  I  not 
suddenly  become  critical !  A  stately  dame  passed  within  twenty 
feet  of  my  thicket,  whose  coiffure  excited  my  mirth  so  power- 
fully that  I  might  have  been  detected  as  a  spy,  had  not  a  bitten 
lip  controlled  my  laughter.  Her  lad3^ship  belonged,  perhaps,  to 
the  "  upper-ten  "  of  Timbo,  whose  heads  had  hitherto  been  hid- 
den from  my  eyes  by  the  jealous  yaskmacks  they  constantly 
wear  in  a  stranger's  presence.  In  this  instance,  however,  the 
woman's  head,  like  that  of  the  younger  girls,  was  uncovered,  so 
that  I  had  a  full  view  of  the  stately  preparation.  Her  lower 
limbs  were  clad  in  ample  folds  of  blue  and  white  cotton,  knotted 
in  an  immense  mass  at  the  waist,  while  her  long  crisp  hair  had 
been  combed  out  to  its  fullest  dimensions  and  spliced  with  addi- 
tional wool.  The  ebony  fleece  was  then  separated  in  strands 
half  an  inch  in  diameter,  and  plaited  all  over  her  skull  in  a 
countless  number  of  distinct  braids.  This  quill-like  structure 
was  then  adorned  with  amber  beads,  and  copiously  anointed 
with  vegetable  butter,  so  that  the  points  gleamed  with  fire  in  the 
setting  sunlight,  and  made  her  look  as  if  she  had  donned  for 
a  bewitching  headdress  a  porcupine  instead  of  a  ''  bird  of  par- 
adise." 

My  trip  to  Timbo,  I  confess,  was  one  of  business  rather  than 
pleasure  or  scientific  exploration.  I  did  not  make  a  record,  at 
the  moment,  of  my  "  impressions  de  voyage,"  and  never  though* 
that,  a  quarter  of  a  century  afterwards,  I  would  feel  disposed  to 
chronicle  the  journey  in  a  book,  as  an  interesting  souvenir  of 
my  early  life.  Had  I  supposed  that  the  day  would  come  when 
I  was  to  turn  author,  it  is  likely  I  might  have  been  more  in- 
quisitive j  but,  being  only  "  a  slaver,"  I  found  Ahma,  Sulimani, 
Abdulmomen,  the  Ali-Mami,  and  all  the  quality  and  amusements 


180  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

of  Timbo,  dull  enough,  lohen  my  object  ivas  achieved.  Still, 
■while  I  was  there,  I  thought  I  might  as  well  see  all  that  was 
visible.  I  strolled  repeatedly  through  the  town.  I  became  ex- 
cessively familiar  with  its  narrow  streets,  low  houses,  mud  walls, 
cul-de-sacs,  and  mosques.  I  saw  no  fine  bazaars,  market-places, 
or  shops.  The  chief  wants  of  life  were  supplied  by  peddlers. 
Platters,  jars,  and  baskets  of  fruit,  vegetables,  and  meat,  were 
borne  around  twice  or  thrice  daily.  Horsemen  dashed  about  on 
beautiful  steeds  towards  the  fields  in  the  morning,  or  came  home 
at  night- full  at  a  slower  pace.  I  never  saw  man  or  ivoman  bask 
lazily  in  Ike  sun.  Females  were  constantly  busy  over  their 
cotton  and  spinning  wheels  when  not  engaged  in  household  occu- 
pations ;  and  often  have  I  seen  an  elderly  dame  quietly  crouched 
in  her  hovel  at  sunset  reading  the  Koran.  Nor  are  the  men  of 
Timbo  less  thrifty.  Their  city  wall  is  said  to  hem  in  about  ten 
thousand  individuals,  representing  all  the  social  industries. 
They  weave  cotton,  work  in  leather,  fabricate  iron  from  the  bar, 
engage  diligently  in  agriculture,  and,  whenever  not  laboriously 
employed,  devote  themselves  to  reading  and  writing,  of  which 
they  are  excessively  fond. 

These  are  the  faint  sketches,  which,  on  ransacking  my  brain, 
I  find  resting  on  its  tablets.  But  I  was  tired  of  Timbo ;  I  was 
perfectly  refreshed  from  my  journey  ;  and  I  was  anxious  to  re- 
turn to  my  factory  on  the  beach.  Two  "  moons  "  only  had  been 
originally  set  apart  for  the  enterprise,  and  the  third  was  already 
waxing  towards  its  full.  I  feared  the  Ali-Mami  was  not  yet 
prepared  with  slaves  for  my  departure,  and  I  dreaded  lest  objec- 
tions might  be  made  if  I  approached  his  royal  highness  with  the 
fiat  announcement.  Accordingly,  I  schooled  my  interpreters, 
and  visited  that  important  personage.  I  made  a  long  speech,  as 
full  of  compliments  and  blarney  as  a  Christmas  pudding  is 
of  plums,  and  concluded  by  touching  the  soft  part  in  African 
royalty's  heart — slaves !  I  told  the  king  that  a  vessel  or  two, 
with  abundant  freights,  would  be  waiting  me  on  the  river,  and 
that  I  must  hasten  thither  with  his  choicest  gangs  if  he  hoped  to 
reap  a  profit. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  181 

The  king  and  the  royal  family  were  no  doubt  excessively 
grieved  to  part  with  the  Furtoo  Mongo,  but  they  were  discreet 
persons  and  '•  listened  to  reason."  War  parties  and  scouts  were 
forthwith  despatched  to  blockade  the  paths,  while  press-gangs 
made  recruits  among  the  villages,  and  even  in  Timbo.  Sulimani- 
Ali,  himself,  sallied  forth,  before  daybreak,  with  a  troop  of  horse, 
and  at  sundown,  came  back  with  forty-five  splendid  fellows,  cap- 
tured in  Findo  and  Furo  ! 

The  personal  dread  of  me  in  the  town  itself,  was  augmented. 
If  I  had  been  a  Pestilence  before,  I  was  Death  now  !  When  I 
took  my  usual  morning  walk  the  children  ran  from  me  scream- 
ing. 8ince  the  arrival  of  Sulimani  with  his  victims,  all  who 
were  under  the  yoke  thought  their  hour  of  exile  had  come.  The 
poor  regarded  me  as  the  devil  incarnate.  Once  or  twice,  I 
caught  women  throwing  a  handful  of  dust  or  ashes  towards 
me,  and  uttering  an  invocation  from  the  Koran  to  avert  the 
demon  or  save  them  from  his  clutche.?.  Their  curiosity  was 
merged  in  terror.     My  iiopularity  was,  over  ! 

It  was  not.  a  little  amusing  that  in  the  midst  of  the  general 
dismay,  caused  by  tlie  court  of  Timbo  and  myself,  my  colored 
brother  Ahmah-de-Bellah,  and  his  kinsman  Abdulmomen,  lost 
no  chance  of  lecturing  me  about  my  soul !  We  kidnapped  the 
Africans  all  day  and  spouted  Islamism  all  night !  Our  religion, 
however,  was  more  speculative  than  practical.  It  was  much  more 
important,  they  thought,  that  we  should  embrace  the  faith  of 
their  peculiar  theology,  than  that  we  should  trouble  ourselves 
about  human  rights  that  interfered  with  profits  and  pockets. 
We  spared  Mahometans  and  enslaved  only  "  the  heathen  ;  " 
so  that,  in  fact,  we  w€re  merely  obedient  to  the  behests  of  Ma- 
homet when  we  subdued  "  the  infidel !  " 

This  process  of  proselytism,  however,  was  not  altogether  suc- 
cessful. As  I  was  already  a  rather  poor  Christian,  I  fear  that 
the  FuUah  did  not  succeed  in  making  me  a  very  good  Mussul- 
man. Still,  I  managed  to  amuse  him  with  the  hope  of  my  future 
improvement  in  his  creed,  so  that  we  were  very  good  friends 
when  the  Ali-Mami  summoned  us  for  a  final  interview. 


182 

The  parting  of  men  is  seldom  a  maudlin  affair.  The  king's 
relations  presented  me  bullocks,  cows,  goats,  and  sheep.  His 
majesty  sent  me  five  slaves.  Sulimani-Ali  offered  a  splendid 
white  charger.  The  king^s  wife  supplied  me  with  an  African 
quilt  ingeniously  woven  of  red  and  yellow  threads  unravelled 
from  Manchester  cottons  ;  while  Ahmah-de-Bellah,  like  a  gentle- 
man of  taste,  despatched  for  my  consolation,  the  two  prettiest 
handmaidens  he  could  buy  or  steal  in  Timbo  ! 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  183 


CHAPTER    XXV. 

I  SHALL  not  weary  the  reader  with  a  narrative  of  ray  journey 
homeward  over  the  track  I  had  followed  on  my  way  to  Timbo. 
A  grand  Mahometan  service  was  performed  at  my  departure,  and 
Ahmah-de-Bellah  accompanied  me  as  far  as  Jallica,  whence  he 
was  recalled  by  his  father  in  consequence  of  a  serious  family  dis- 
pute that  required  his  presence.  Ali-Ninpha  was  prepared,  in 
this  place,  to  greet  me  with  a  welcome,  and  a  copious  supply  of 
gold,  wax,  ivory,  and  slaves.  At  Tamisso,  the  worthy  Mahome- 
doo  had  complied  with  his  promise  to  furnish  a  similar  addition 
to  the  caravan ;  so  that  when  we  set  out  for  Kya,  our  troop  was 
swelled  to  near  a  thousand  strong,  counting  men,  women,  children 
and  ragamuffins. 

At  Kya  I  could  not  help  tarrying  four  days  with  my  jolly 
friend  Ibrahim,  who  received  the  tobacco,  charged  with  "  bitters," 
during  my  absence,  and  was  delighted  to  furnish  a  nourishing 
drop  after  my  long  abstinence.  As  we  approached  the  coast, 
another  halt  was  called  at  a  favorable  encampment,  where  Ali- 
Ninpha  divided  the  caravan  in  four  parts,  reserving  the  best 
portion  of  slaves  and  merchandise  for  me.  The  division,  before 
arrival,  was  absolutely  necessary,  in  order  to  prevent  disputes  or 
disastrous  quarrels  in  regard  to  the  merchantable  quality  of 
negroes  on  the  beach. 

I  hoped  to  take  my  people  by  surprise  at  Kambia ;  but  when 
the  factory  came  in  sight  from  the  hill-tops  back  of  the  settle- 


184  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

ment,  I  saw  the  Spanish  flag  floating  from  its  summit,  and  heard 
the  cannon  booming  forth  a  welcome  to  the  wanderer.  Every 
thing  had  been  admirably  conducted  in  my  absence.  The  FuUah 
and  my  clerk  preserved  their  social  relations  and  the  public  tran- 
quillity unimpaired.  My  factory  and  warehouse  were  as  neat  and 
orderly  as  when  I  left  them,  so  that  I  had  nothing  to  do  but  go 
to  sleep  as  if  I  had  made  a  day's  excursion  to  a  neighboring  vil- 
lage. 

Within  a  week  I  paid  for  the  caravan's  produce,  despatched 
Mami  de-Yong,  and  made  arrangements  with  the  captain  of  a 
slaver  in  the  river  for  the  remainder  of  his  merchandise.  But 
the  FuUah  chief  had  not  left  me  more  than  a  day  or  two,  when  I 
was  surprised  by  a  traveller  who  dashed  into  my  factory,  with  a 
message  from  Ahmah-de-Bellah  at  Timbo,  whence  he  had  posted 
in  twenty-one  days. 

Ahniah  was  in  trouble.  He  had  been  recalled,  as  I  said, 
from  Jallica  by  family  quarrels.  AVhen  he  reached  the  paternal 
mat,  he  found  his  sister  Beeljie  bound  hand  and  foot  in  prison, 
with  orders  for  her  prompt  transportation  to  my  factory  as  a 
slave.  These  w^ere  the  irrevocable  commands  of  his  royal  father, 
and  of  her  half-brother,  Sulimani.  All  his  appeals,  seconded 
by  those  of  his  mother,  were  unheeded.  She  must  be  shipped 
from  the  Rio  Porgo  ;  and  no  one  could  be  trusted  with  the  task 
but  the  Ali-Mami's  son  and  friend,  the  Mongo  Teodor ! 

To  resist  this  dire  command,  Ahmah  charged  the  messenger 
to  appeal  to  my  heart  by  our  brotherly  love,  not  to  allow  the 
maiden  to  be  sent  over  sea ;  but,  by  force  or  stratagem,  to  retain 
her  until  he  arrived  on  the  beach. 

The  news  amazed  me.  I  knew  that  African  Mahometans 
never  sold  their  caste  or  kindred  into  foreign  slavery,  unless 
their  crime  deserved  a  penalty  severer  than  death.  I  reflected 
a  while  on  the  message,  because  I  did  not  wish  to  complicate 
my  relations  with  the  leading  chiefs  of  the  interior  ;  but,  in  a 
few  moments,  natural  sensibility  mastered  every  selfish  impulse, 
and  I  told  the  envoy  to  hasten  back  on  the  path  of  the  sufi'er- 
ing  brother,  and  assure  him  I  would  shield  his  sister,  even  at 
the  risk  of  his  kindred's  wrath. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  185 

About  a  week  afterwards  I  was  aroused  one  morning  by  a 
runner  from  a  neighboring  village  over  the  hill,  who  stated  that 
a  courier  reached  his  town  the  night  before  from  Sulimani-Ali, — 
a  prince  of  Timbo, — conducting  a  Fullah  girl,  who  was  to  be 
sold  by  me  immediately  to  a  Spanish  slaver.  The  girl,  he  said, 
resisted  with  all  her  energy.  She  refused  to  walk.  For  the  last 
four  days  she  had  been  borne  along  in  a  litter.  She  swore  never 
to  "  see  the  ocean  ; "  and  threatened  to  dash  her  skull  against 
the  first  rock  in  her  path,  if  they  attempted  to  carry  her  further. 
The  stanch  refusal  embarrassed  her  Mahometan  conductor,  inas- 
much as  his  country's  law  forbade  him  to  use  extraordinary  com- 
pulsion, or  degrade  the  maiden  with  a  whip. 

I  saw  at  once  that  this  delay  and  hesitation  afforded  an  op- 
portunity to  interfere  judiciously  in  behalf  of  the  spirited  girl, 
whose  sins  or  faults  were  still  unknown  to  me.  Accordingly,  I 
imparted  the  tale  to  Ali-Ninpha  ;  and,  with  his  consent,  des- 
patched a  shrewd  dame  from  the  Mandingo's  harem^  with  direc- 
tions for  her  conduct  to  the  village.  Woman's  tact  and  woman's 
sympathy  are  the  same  throughout  the  world,  and  the  proud  am- 
bassadress undertook  her  task  with  pleased  alacrity.  I  warned 
her  to  be  extremely  cautious  before  the  myrmidons  of  Sulimani, 
but  to  seize  a  secret  moment  when  she  might  win  the  maiden's 
confidence,  to  inform  her  that  I  was  the  sworn  friend  of  Ahmali- 
de-Bellah,  and  would  save  her  if  she  fuUoived  my  commands 
implicitly.  She  must  cease  resistance  at  once.  She  must  come 
to  the  river,  which  was  fresh  water,  and  not  salt ;  and  she  must 
allow  her  jailors  to  fulfil  all  the  orders  they  received  from  her 
tyrannical  kinsmen.  Muffled  in  the  messenger's  garments,  I  sent 
the  manuscript  Koran  of  Ahmah-de-Bellah  as  a  token  of  my 
truth,  and  bade  the  dame  assure  Beeljie  that  her  brother  was 
already  far  on  his  journey  to  redeem  her  in  Kambia. 

The  mission  was  successful,  and,  early  next  day,  the  girl  was 
brought  to  my  factory,  with  a  rope  round  her  neck. 

The  preliminaries  for  her  purchase  were  tedious  and  formal. 
As  her  sale  was  compulsory,  there  was  not  much  question  as  to 
quality  or  price.  Still,  I  was  obliged  to  promise  a  multitude  of 
things  I  did  not  intend  to  perform.     In  order  to  disgrace  the 


186  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

"poor  creature  as  much  as  possible,  her  sentence  declared  she 
should  be  "sold  for  salt," — the  most  contemptuous  of  all  African 
exchanges,  and  used  in  the  interior  for  the  purchase  of  cattle 
alone. 

Poor  Beeljie  stood  naked  and  trembling  before  us  while  these 
ceremonies  were  performing.  A  scowl  of  indignation  flitted  like 
a  shadow  over  her  face,  as  she  heard  the  disgusting  commands. 
Tenderly  brought  up  among  the  princely  brood  of  Timbo,  she  was 
a  bright  and  delicate  type  of  the  classes  I  described  at  the  brook- 
side.  Her  limbs  and  features  were  stained  by  the  dust  of  travel, 
and  her  expression  was  clouded  with  the  grief  of  sensible  degra- 
dation: still  I  would  have  risked  more  than  I  did,  when  I  beheld 
the  mute  appeal  of  her  face  and  form,  to  save  her  from  the  doom 
of  Cuban  exile. 

When  the  last  tub  of  salt  was  measured,  I  cut  the  rope  from 
Beeljie's  neck,  and,  throwing  over  her  shoulders  a  shawl, — in 
which  she  instantly  shrank  with  a  look  of  gratitude, — called  the 
female  who  had  borne  my  cheering  message,  to  take  the  girl  to 
her  house  and  treat  her  as  the  sister  of  my  FuUah  brother. 

As  1  expected,  this  humane  command  brought  the  emissary 
of  Sulimani  to  his  feet  with  a  bound.  He  insisted  on  the  resti- 
tution of  the  woman  !  He  swore  I  had  deceived  him ;  and,  in 
fact,  went  through  a  variety  of  African  antics  which  are  not  unu- 
sual, even  among  the  most  civilized  of  the  tribes,  when  excited 
to  extraordinary  passion. 

It  was  my  habit,  during  these  outbursts  of  native  ire,  to 
remain  perfectly  quiet,  not  only  until  the  explosion  was  over, 
but  while  the  smoke  was  disappearing  from  the  scene.  I  fas- 
tened my  eye,  therefore,  silently,  but  intensely,  on  the  tiger,  fol- 
lowing him  in  all  his  movements  about  the  apartment,  till  he 
sank,  subdued  and  panting,  on  the  mat.  I  then  softly  told  him 
that  this  excitement  was  not  only  unbecoming  a  Mahometan  gen- 
tleman, and  fit  for  a  savage  alone,  but  that  it  was  altogether 
wasted  on  the  present  occasion,  inasmuch  as  the  girl  should  be 
put  on  board  a  slaver  in  his  presence.  Nevertheless,  I  con- 
tinued, while  the  sister  of  Ahmah  was  under  my  roof,  her  blood 
must  be  respected,  and  she  should  be  treated  in  every  respect 
as  a  royal  person. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  187 

I  was  quite  as  curious  as  the  reader  may  be  to  know  the 
crime  of  Beeljie,  for,  up  to  that  moment,  I  had  not  been  in- 
formed of  it.  Dismissing  the  Fullah  as  speedily  as  possible,  I 
hastened  to  Ali-Ninpha's  dwelling  and  heard  the  sufferer's  story. 

The  Mahometan  princess,  whose  age  surely  did  not  exceed 
eighteen,  had  been  promised  by  the  king  and  her  half-brother, 
Sulimani,  to  an  old  relative,  who  was  not  only  accused  of  cruelty 
to  his  harem's  inmates,  but  was  charged  by  Mussulmen  with  the 
heinous  crime  of  eating  "  unclean  flesh."  The  girl,  who  seemed 
to  be  a  person  of  masculine  courage  and  determination,  resisted 
this  disposal  of  her  person  ;  but,  while  her  brother  Ahmah  was 
away,  she  was  forced  from  her  mother's  arms  and  given  to  the 
filthy  dotard. 

It  is  commonly  supposed  that  women  are  doomed  to  the 
basest  obedience  in  oriental  lands  ;  yet,  it  seems  there  is  a  Ma- 
hometan law, — or,  at  least,  a  Fullah  custom, — which  saves  the 
purity  of  an  unwilling  bride.  The  delivery  of  Beeljie  to  her 
brutal  lord  kindled  the  fire  of  an  ardent  temper.  She  furnished 
the  old  gentleman  with  specimens  of  violence  to  which  his  harem 
had  been  a  stranger,  save  when  the  master  himself  chose  to  in- 
dulge in  wrath.  In  fact,  the  Fullah  damsel — half  acting,  half 
in  reality — played  the  virago  so  finely,  that  her  husband,  after 
exhausting  arguments,  promises  and  supplications,  sent  her  back 
to  her  kindred  ivith  an  insulting  message. 

It  was  a  sad  day  when  she  returned  to  the  paternal  roof  in 
Timbo.  Her  resistance  was  regarded  by  the  dropsical  despot  as 
rebellious  disobedience  of  father  and  brother ;  and,  as  neither 
authority  nor  love  would  induce  the  outlaw  to  repent,  her  barba- 
rous parent  condemned  her  to  be  "  a  slave  to  Christians^ 

Her  story  ended,  I  consoled  the  poor  maiden  with  every 
assurance  of  protection  and  comfort ;  for,  now  that  the  excite- 
ment of  sale  and  journey  was  over,  her  nerves  gave  way,  and  she 
sank  on  her  mat,  completely  exhausted.  I  commended  her  to 
the  safeguard  of  my  landlord  and  the  especial  kindness  of  his 
women.  Esther,  too,  stole  up  at  night  to  comfort  the  sufferer 
with  her  fondlmg  tenderness,  for  she  could  not  speak  the  Fullah 
language; — and  in  a  week,  I  had  the  damsel  in  capital  condition 
ready  for  a  daring  enterprise  that  was  to  seal  her  fate. 


188  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

When  the  Spanish  slaver,  whose  cargo  I  had  just  completed, 
was  ready  for  sea,  I  begged  her  captain  to  aid  me  in  the  ship- 
ment of  ^'  a  2}rincess^^  who  had  been  consigned  to  my  wardship 
by  her  royal  relations  in  the  interior,  but  whom  I  dared  not  put 
on  board  his  vessel  until  she  was  beyond  the  Rio  For/go's  bar. 
The  officer  assented  ;  and  when  the  last  boat-load  of  slaves  was 
despatched  from  my  barracoo?i,  he  lifted  his  anchor  and  floated 
down  the  stream  till  he  got  beyond  the  furthest  breakers.  Here, 
with  sails  loosely  furled,  and  every  thing  ready  for  instant  depar- 
ture, he  again  laid  to,  awaiting  the  royal  bonne  boudt.e. 

In  the  mean  time,  I  hurried  Beeljie  with  her  friends  and 
FuUah  jailer  to  the  beach,  so  that  when  the  slaver  threw  his  sails 
aback  and  brought  his  vessel  to  the  wind,  I  lost  not  a  moment  in 
putting  the  girl  in  a  canoe,  with  five  Kroomen  to  carry  her 
through  the  boiling  surf. 

"  Allah  be  praised  !  "  sighed  the  FuUah,  as  the  boat  shot 
ahead  into  the  sea ;  while  the  girls  of  the  harem  fell  on  the  sand 
with  wails  of  sorrow.  The  Kroomen,  with  their  usual  skill, 
drove  the  buoyant  skiff  swiftly  towards  the  slaver  ;  but,  as  they 
approached  the  breakers  south  of  the  bar,  a  heavy  roller  struck 
it  on  the  side,  and  instantly,  its  freight  was  struggling  in  the 
surge. 

In  a  twinkling,  the  FxiUah  was  on  the  earth,  his  face  buried 
in  the  sand  ;  the  girls  screamed  and  tore  their  garments  ;  Ali- 
Ninpha's  wife  clung  to  me  with  the  grasp  of  despair ;  while  I, 
stamping  with  rage,  cursed  the  barbarity  of  the  maiden's  parent, 
whose  sentence  had  brought  her  to  this  wretched  fate. 

I  kicked  the  howling  hypocrite  beneath  me,  and  bade  him 
hasten  with  the  news  to  Timbo,  and  tell  the  wicked  patriarch 
that  the  Prophet  himself  had  destroyed  the  life  of  his  wretched 
child,  sooner  than  suffer  her  to  become  a  Christian's  slave. 

The  Spanish  vessel  was  under  full  sail,  sweeping  rapidly  out 
to  sea,  and  the  Kroomen  swam  ashore  without  their  boat,  as  the 
grieving  group  slowly  and  sadly  retraced  their  way  along  the 
river's  bank  to  Kambia. 

There  was  wailing  that  night  in  the  village,  and  there  was 
wailing  in  Timbo  when  the  FuUah  returned  with  the  tragic  story 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AX    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  189 

In  fact,  such  was  the  distracted  excitement  both  on  the  sea-shore 
and  in  the  settlement,  that  noue  of  my  companions  had  eyes  to 
observe  an  episode  of  the  drama  which  had  been  played  that 
evening;  without  rehearsal. 

Every  body  who  has  been  on  the  coast  of  Africa,  or  read  of 
its  people,  knows  that  Kroomen  are  altogether  unaware  of  any 
difference  between  a  smooth  river  and  the  angriest  wave. 
They  would  as  willingly  be  upset  in  the  surf  as  stumble  against 
a  rock.  I  took  advantage  of  this  amphibious  nature,  to  station 
a  light  canoe  immediately  on  the  edge  of  the  breakers,  and  to 
order  the  daring  swimmers  it  contained  to  grasp  the  girl  the 
moment  her  canoe  was  pu)yoseIy  tij^set  !  I  promised  the  divers 
a  liberal  reward  if  they  lodged  her  in  their  boat,  or  swam  with 
her  to  the  nearest  point  of  the  opposite  beach  ;  and  so  well  did 
they  perform  their  secret  task,  that  when  they  drew  ashore  her 
fainting  body,  it  was  promptly  received  by  a  trusty  Eager,  who 
was  in  waiting  on  the  beach.  Before  the  girl  recovered  her 
senses  she  was  safely  afloat  in  the  fisherman's  canoe.  His  home 
was  in  a  village  on  the  coast  below  ;  and,  perhaps,  it  still  remains 
a  secret  to  this  day,  how  it  was  that,  for  years  after,  a  girl^  the 
'image  of  the  lost  Bce/jie,  followed  the  Joot steps  of  Ahmah,  the 
Fullah  'of  Timho  ! 


190  CAPTAIN    CANOT  I    OR, 


CHAPTER    XXYI. 

After  my  toilsome  journey  to  the  interior,  my  despatch  of  a 
slaver,  and  my  adventurous  enterprise  in  behalf  of  a  Fullah  prin- 
cess, I  thought  myself  entitled  to  a  long  siesta  ;  but  my  comfort- 
able desires  and  anticipations  were  doomed  to  disappointment. 
I  was  suddenly  stirred  from  this  willing  lethargy  by  a  salute  of 
twenty  one  guns  in  the  offing.  Our  wonder  was  almost  insup- 
portable as  to  the  character  of  the  ceremonious  stranger  who 
wasted  powder  so  profusely,  while  a  boy  was  despatched  to  the 
top  of  the  look-out  tree  to  ascertain  his  character.  He  reported 
a  schooner  anchored  opposite  Bangalang,  sporting  a  long  pendant 
at  the  main,  and  a  white  ensign  at  her  peak.  I  took  it  for  granted 
that  no  man-of-war  would  salute  a  native  chief,  and  so  concluded 
that  it  was  some  pretentious  Frenchman,  unacquainted  with  the 
prudent  customs  of  our  demure  coast. 

The  conjecture  was  right.  At  nightfall  Mr.  Ormond — whose 
humor  had  somewhat  improved  since  my  return — apprised  me 
that  a  Gallic  slaver  had  arrived  to  his  consignment  with  a  rich 
cargo,  and  hoped  I  would  join  him  at  breakfast  on  board,  by  in- 
vitation of  the  commander. 

Next  morning,  at  sunrise,  the  Mongo  and  myself  met  for  the 
first  time  after  our  rupture  with  apparent  cordiality  on  the  deck 
of  "  La  Perousc,"  where  we  were  welcomed  with  all  that  cor- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  19 

diality  of  grimace  for  which  a  half-bred  Frenchman  is  so  justly 
celebrated.  Captain  Brulot  could  not  speak  English,  nor  could 
Mr.  Ormond  express  himself  in  French  ;  so  we  wasted  the  time 
till  breakfast  was  served  in  discussing  his  cargo  and  prospects, 
through  my  interpretation.  Fine  samples  of  gaudy  calicoes, 
French  guns,  and  superior  brandy,  were  exhibited  and  dwelt  on 
with  characteristic  eloquence  ;  but  the  Gaul  closed  his  bewitch- 
ing catalogue  with  a  shout  of  joy  that  made  the  cabin  ring,  as 
he  announced  the  complement  of  his  cargo  to  be  jive  hundred 
doubloons.  The  scent  of  gold  has  a  peculiar  charm  to  African 
slavers,  and  it  will  readily  be  supposed  that  our  appetite  for  the 
promised  dfjeuner  was  not  a  little  stimulated  by  the  Spanish 
coin.  As  rapidly  as  we  could,  we  summed  up  the  doubloons 
and  his  merchandise  ;  and,  estimating  the  entire  cargo  at  about 
$17,000,  offered  him  three  hundred  and  fifty  negroes  for  the  lot. 
The  bid  was  no  sooner  made  than  accepted.  Our  private  boats 
were  sent  ashore  in  search  of  canoes  to  discharge  the  goods,  and, 
with  a  relish  and  spirit  I  never  saw  surpassed,  we  sat  down  to  a 
piquant  breakfast,  spread  on  deck  beneath  the  awning. 

I  will  not  attempt  to  remember  the  dishes  which  provoked 
our  appetites  and  teased  our  thirst.  We  were  happy  already  on 
the  delightful  claret  that  washed  down  the  viands;  but,  after 
the  substantials  were  gone,  coffee  was  served,  and  succeeded  by 
half  a  dozen  various  cordials,  the  whole  being  appropriately 
capped  by  the  foam  of  champagne. 

When  the  last  bumper  was  quaffed  in  honor  of  "  La  Perouse" 
and  "  belle  France,"  Captain  Brulot  called  for  his  writing-desk; 
when,  at  the  instant,  four  men  sprung  up  as  if  by  enchantment 
behind  the  Mongo  and  myself,  and  grasping  our  arms  with  the 
gripe  of  a  vice,  held  us  in  their  clutches  till  the  carpenter  riveted 
a  shackle  on  our  feet. 

The  scene  passed  so  rapidly, — the  transition  from  gayety  to 
outrage  was  so  sharp  and  violent,  that  my  bewildered  mind  can- 
not now  declare  with  certainty,  whether  mirth  or  anger  prevailed 
at  the  clap-trap  trick  of  this  dramatic  denouement.  I  am  quite 
sare,  however,  that  if  I  laughed  at  first,  I  very  soon  swore  ;  for 
I  have  a  distinct  recollection  of  dashing  my  fist  in  the  poltroon's 
face  before  he  could  extemporize  an  explanation. 


192  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

When  our  limbs  were  perfectly  secure,  the  French  scoundrel 
recommenced  his  shrugs,  bows,  grins  and  congees ;  and  approach- 
ing Mr.  Ormond  with  a  sarcastic  simper,  apprised  him  that  the 
petite  comedie  in  which  he  took  part,  had  been  enacted  for  the 
collection  of  a  trifling  debt  which  his  excellency  the  Mongo 
owed  a  beloved  brother,  who,  alas  !  was  no  longer  on  earth  to 
collect  it  for  himself  ! 

Monsieur  le  Mongo,  he  said,  would  have  the  kindness  to 
remembet  that,  several  years  ago,  his  brother  had  left  some 
tivo  hundred  slaves  in  his  hands  until  called  for  ;  and  he  would 
also  please  to  take  the  trouble  to  recollect,  that  the  said  slaves 
had  been  twice  sent  for,  and  twice  refused.  Monsieur  le  Mongo 
must  know,  he  continued,  that  there  was  not  much  law  on  the 
coast  of  Africa ;  and  that,  as  he  had  Monsieur  le  Mongo's  pro- 
missory note,  or  due-bill,  for  the  negroes,  he  thought  this  charm- 
ing little  ruse  would  be  the  most  amiable  and  practical  mode  of 
enforcing  it !  Did  his  friend,  le  Mongo,  intend  to  honor  this 
draft  ?  It  was  properly  endorsed,  he  would  see,  in  favor  of  the 
bearer ;  and  if  the  esclaves  were  quickly  forthcoming,  the  whole 
affair  would  pass  off  as  agreeably  and  quickly  as  the  bubbles  from 
a  champagne  glass. 

By  this  time  Ormond  was  so  perfectly  stupified  by  drink,  as 
well  as  the  atrocity,  that  he  simply  burst  into  a  maudlin  laugh, 
when  I  looked  at  him  for  an  explanation  of  the  charge.  /, 
surely,  was  not  implicated  in  it ;  yet,  when  I  demanded  the 
cause  of  the  assault  upon  Tuy  person,  in  connection  with  the 
affair,  Brulot  replied,  with  a  shrug,  that  as  I  was  Ormond's  clerk 
when  the  note  was  signed,  I  must  have  had  a  finger  in  the  pie ; 
and,  inasmuch  as  I  now  possessed  a  factory  of  my  own,  it  would 
doubtless  be  delightful  to  aid  my  ancient  patron  in  the  liquida- 
tion of  a  debt  that  I  knew  to  be  lawful. 

It  was  altogether  useless  to  deny  my  presence  in  the  factory, 
or  knowledge  of  the  transaction,  which,  in  truth,  had  occurred 
long  before  my  arrival  on  the  Rio  Pongo,  during  the  clerkship 
of  my  predecessor.  Still,  I  insisted  on  immediate  release.  An 
hour  flew  by  in  useless  parley.  But  the  Frenchman  was  firm, 
and  swore  that  nothing  would  induce  him  to  liberate  either  of  us 
without  payment  of  the  bill.     While  we  were  talking,  a  crowd 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  193 

of  canoes  was  seen  shoving  ofiF  from  Bangalang,  filled  with  armed 
men  ;  whereupon  the  excited  Gaul  ordered  his  men  to  quarters, 
and  double-shotted  his  guns. 

As  the  first  boat  came  within  striking  distance,  a  ball  was 
fired  across  her  bows,  which  not  onh^  sent  back  the  advance,  but 
made  the  entire  fleet  tack  ship  and  steer  homeward  in  dismay. 
Soon  after,  however,  I  heard  the  war-drum  beating  in  Bangalang, 
and  could  see  the  natives  mustering  in  great  numbers  along  the 
river  banks ;  yet,  what  could  undisciplined  savages  efi'ect  against 
the  skinned  teeth  of  our  six-pounders  ?  At  sunset,  liQwever,  my 
clerk  came  off,  with  a  white  flag,  and  the  captain  allowed  him  to 
row  alongside  to  receive  our  orders  in  his  presence.  Ormond 
was  not  yet  in  a  state  to  consult  as  to  our  appropriate  means  of 
rescue  from  the  trickster's  clutches ;  so  I  directed  the  young 
man  to  return  in  the  morning  with  changes  of  raiment;  but,  in 
the  mean  while,  to  desire  the  villagers  of  both  settlements  to 
refrain  from  interference  in  our  behalf  An  excellent  meal,  with 
abundance  of  claret,  was  served  for  our  entertainment,  and,  on  a 
capital  mattress,  we  passed  a  night  of  patient  endurance  in  our 
iron  stockings. 

At  daylight,  water  and  towels  were  served  for  our  refresh- 
ment. After  cofi"ee  and  cigars  w^ere  placed  on  the  board,  Brulot 
put  by  his  sarcasm,  and,  in  an  ofi"-hand  fashion,  demanded  whe- 
ther we  had  come  to  our  senses  and  intended  to  pay  the  debt  ? 
My  Italian  blood  was  in  a  fever,  and  I  said  nothing.  Ormond, 
however, — now  entirely  sober,  and  who  was  enjoying  a  cigar 
with  the  habitual  insoucia7ice  of  a  mulatto, — replied  quietly  that 
he  could  make  no  promises  or  arrangements  whilst  confined  ou 
board,  but  if  allowed  to  go  ashore,  he  would  fulfil  his  obligation 
in  two  or  three  days.  An  hour  was  spent  by  the  Frenchman  in 
pondering  on  the  proposal ;  when  it  was  finally  agreed  that  the 
Mongo  should  be  set  at  liberty,  provided  he  left,  as  hostages, 
four  of  his  children  and  two  of  the  black  chiefs  who  visited  him 
in  my  boat.  The  compact  was  sealed  by  the  hoisting  of  a  flag 
under  the  discharge  of  a  blank  cartridge  ;  and,  in  an  hour,  the 
pledges  were  in  the  cabin,  under  the  eye  of  a  sentry,  while  the 
Mongo  was  once  more  in  Bangalang. 
9 


194  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

These  negotiations,  it  will  be  perceived,  did  not  touch  7?iy 
case,  though  I  was  in  no  manner  guilty ;  yet  I  assented  to  the 
proposal  because  I  thought  that  Ormond  would  be  better  able 
than  myself  to  find  the  requisite  number  of  slaves  at  that  mo- 
ment. I  ordered  my  clerk,  however,  to  press  all  the  indifferent 
and  useless  servants  in  my  factory,  and  to  aid  the  Mongo  with 
every  slave  at  present  in  my  harracoon. 

Before  sunset  of  that  da}^,  this  young  man  came  aboard  with 
fifty  negroes  from  my  establishment,  and  demanded  my  release. 
It  was  refused.  Next  day  forty  more  were  despatched  by  the 
Mongo ;  but  still  my  liberty  was  denied.  I  upbraided  the 
scoundrel  with  his  meanness,  and  bade  him  look  out  for  the  day 
of  retribution.  But  he  snapped  his  fingers  at  my  threat  as  he 
exclaimed  :  "  Cher  ami,  ce  'tVest  que  la  fortune  de  guerre  !  " 

It  was  a  task  of  difficulty  to  collect  the  remaining  one  hua- 
dred  and  ten  slaves  among  factories  which  had  been  recently 
drained  by  Cuban  vessels.  Many  domestic  menials  escaped  to 
the  forest  when  the  story  became  known,  as  they  did  not  wish  to 
take  the  place  of  their  betters  in  the  "  French  service." 

Thrice  had  the  sun  risen  and  set  since  I  was  a  prisoner. 
During  all  the  time,  my  blood  tingled  for  revenge.  I  was 
tricked,  humbled  and  disgraced.  Never  did  I  cease  to  pray  for 
the  arrival  of  some  well  armed  Spanish  slaver ;  and,  towards 
evening  of  the  fourth  day,  lo  !  the  boon  was  granted  !  That 
afternoon,  a  boat  manned  by  negroes,  passed  with  the  Span- 
ish flag ;  but,  as  there  was  no  white  man  aboard,  Brulot  took  it 
for  a  ruse  of  the  Mongo,  designed  to  alarm  him  into  an  uncon- 
ditional release  of  his  captives. 

I  must  do  the  Gaul  the  justice  to  declare,  that  during  my 
confinement,  he  behaved  like  a  gentleman,  in  supplies  from  the 
pantry  and  spirit  room.  Neither  was  he  uncivil  or  unkind  in  his 
general  demeanor.  Indeed,  he  several  times  regretted  that  this 
was  the  only  means  in  his  power  "  to  collect  a  promissory  note 
on  the  coast  of  Africa ;  "  yet,  I  was  not  Christian  enough  to 
sympathize  with  the  sherifl",  or  to  return  his  compliments  with 
any  thing  but  a  curse.  But,  now  that  a  Spaniard  was  within 
hail,  I  felt  a  sudden  lifting  of  the  weight  that  was  on  my  heart. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  195 

I  shouted  for  champagne  !  The  steward  brought  it  with  alac- 
rity, and  poured  with  trembling  hand  the  bumpers  I  drained  to 
Saint  Jago  and  old  Spain.  The  infection  soou  spread.  They 
began  to  believe  that  a  rescue  was  at  hand.  The  news  was 
heard  with  dismay  in  the  forecastle.  Brulot  alone  stood  obsti- 
nate, but  indecisive. 

Presently,  I  called  him  to  join  me  in  a  glass,  and,  as  we 
drank  the  foaming  liquid,  I  pledged  him  to  another  "  within 
twenty-four  hours  beneath  the  Spanish  flag."  The  Gaul  feigned 
a  sort  of  hectic  hilarity  as  he  swallowed  the  wine  and  the  toast, 
but  he  could  not  stand  the  flash  of  revenge  in  my  eye  and  burn- 
inir  cheek,  and  retired  to  consult  with  his  officers. 


196 


CHAPTEE      XXVII.     ' 

I  SLEPT  soundly  that  nigbt ;  but  the  sun  was  not  clear  of  the 
forest  when  I  hobbled  on  deck  in  my  shackles,  and  was  searching 
the  seaward  horizon  for  my  beloved  Castilian.  Presently  the 
breeze  began  to  freshen,  and  the  tall,  raking  masts  of  a  schooner 
were  seen  gliding  above  the  tops  of  the  mangroves  that  masked 
the  Eio  Pongo's  mouth.  Very  soon  the  light  wind  and  tide 
drifted  her  clear  of  the  bends,  and  an  anchor  was  let  go  within 
musket-shot  of  my  prison,  while  springs  were  run  out  to  the 
bushes  to  give  range  to  her  broadside.  I  saw  at  once,  from  her 
manoeuvres,  that  Ormond  had  communicated  with  the  craft  dur- 
ing the  night. 

Brulot  felt  that  his  day  was  over.  The  Spaniard's  decks 
were  crowded  with  an  alert,  armed  crew  ;  four  charming  little 
bull-dogs  showed  their  muzzles  from  port  holes ;  while  a  large 
brass  swivel,  amidships,  gave  token  of  its  readiness  to  fight  or 
salute.  For  a  minute  or  two  the  foiled  Frenchman  surveyed  the 
scene  through  his  glass ;  then,  throwing  it  over  his  shoulder, 
ordered  the  mate  to  strike  off  my  "  darbies."  As  the  officer 
obeyed,  a  voice  was  heard  from  the  Spaniard,  commanding  a 
boat  to  be  sent  aboard,  under  penalty  of  a  shot  if  not  instantly 
obeyed.  The  boat  was  lowered  ;  but  who  would  man  her  ?  The 
chief  officer  refused  ;  the  second  declined ;  the  French  sailors 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN   AFRICAN    SLAVER.  197 

objected ;  the  Creoles  and  mulattoes  from  St.  Thomas  went 
below ;  so  that  no  one  was  left  to  fulfil  the  slaver's  order  but 
Brulot  or  myself. 

''  Bie?i !  "  said  my  crest-fallen  cock,  "  it's  your  turn  to  crow, 
Don  Teodore.  Fortune  seems  on  your  side,  and  you  are  again 
free.  Go  to  the  devil,  if  you  please,  mon  camarade^  and  send 
your  imps  for  the  slaves  as  soon  as  you  want  them  !  " 

By  this  time  the  Spaniard  had  lighted  his  matches,  levelled 
his  guns,  and,  under  the  aim  of  his  musketry,  repeated  the  order 
for  a  boat.  Seeing  the  danger  of  our  party,  I  leaped  to  the  bul- 
warks, and  hailing  my  deliverer  in  Spanish,  bade  him  desist. 
The  request  was  obeyed  as  I  threw  myself  into  the  yawl,  cut  the 
rope,  and,  alone,  sculled  the  skiflf  to  the  slaver. 

A  shout  went  up  from  the  deck  of  my  deliverer  as  I  jumped 
aboard  and  received  the  cordial  grasp  of  her  commander.  Ali- 
Ninpha,  too,  was  there  to  greet  and  defend  me  with  a  chosen 
band  of  his  people.  While  I  was  absorbed  in  the  joy  of  wel- 
come and  liberation,  the  African  stole  with  his  band  to  the 
Frenchman's  boat,  and  was  rapidly  filling  it  to  board  the  foe, 
when  my  clerk  apprised  me  of  the  impending  danger.  I  was 
fortunate  enough  lo  control  the  enraged  savage,  else  I  know  not 
what  might  have  been  the  fate  of  Brulot  and  the  ofiicers  during 
the  desertion  of  his  mongrel  and  cowardly  crew. 

The  captain  desired  his  mates  to  keep  an  eye  on  the  Gaul 
while  we  retired  to  the  cabin  for  consultation ;  and  here  I 
learned  that  I  was  on  board  the  "  Esperanza,"  consigned  to  me 
from  Matanzas.  In  turn,  I  confii-med  the  account  they  had 
already  heard  of  my  mishap  from  the  Mongo's  messengers ;  but 
hoped  the  Cuban  captain  would  permit  me  to  take  pacific  revenge 
after  my  own  fashion,  inasmuch  as  my  captor — barring  the  irons 
— had  behaved  with  uncommon  civility.  I  had  no  trouble,  of 
course,  in  obtaining  the  commander's  assent  to  this  request, 
though  he  yielded  it  under  the  evident  displeasure  of  his  crew, 
whose  Spanish  blood  was  up  against  the  Frenchman,  and  would 
willingly  have  inflicted  a  signal  puni&hment  on  this  neutral 
ground. 

After  these  preliminaries,  Captain   Escudero  and  myself  re- 


198  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

turned  to  the  '•  La  Perouse  "  with  two  boat-loads  of  armed  fol- 
lowers, while  our  approach  was  covered  by  the  cannons  and  small 
arms  of  the  "  Esperanza."  Brulot  received  us  in  moody  silence 
on  the  quarter-deck.  His  officers  sat  sulkily  on  a  gun  to  lee- 
ward, while  two  or  three  French  seamen  walked  to  and  fro  on 
the  forecastle. 

My  jQrst  command  was  to  spike  the  vessel's  guns.  Next,  I 
decreed  and  superintended  the  disembarkation  of  the  stolen 
slaves  ;  and,  lastly,  I  concluded  the  morning  call  with  a  request 
that  Brulot  would  'produce  the  jive  hundred  doubloons  and  his 
^''  IDTomissory  note''''  for  two  hundred  slaves  I 

The  fatal  document,  duly  indorsed,  was  quickly  delivered, 
but  no  persuasion  or  threat  induced  the  angry  Gaul  to  show 
his  gold,  or  a  manifest  of  the  cargo. 

After  ample  indulgence,  I  despatched  a  man  to  seek  his 
writing-desk,  and  discovered  that  six  hundred  doubloons  had 
ill  reality  been  shipped  in  St.  Thomas.  Of  course,  their  produc- 
tion was  imperiously  demanded ;  but  Brulot  swore  they  had 
been  landed,  with  his  supercargo,  in  the  neighboring  Rio  Nunez. 
I  was  near  crediting  the  story,  when  a  slight  sneer  I  perceived 
flickering  over  the  steward's  face,  put  me  on  the  qui  vive  to  request 
an  inspection  of  the  log-book,  which,  unfortunately  for  my  cap- 
tor, did  not  record  the  disembarkation  of  the  cash.  This  demon- 
strated Brulot's  falsehood,  and  authorized  a  demand  for  his  trunk. 
The  knave  winced  as  the  steward  descended  to  bring  it ;  and  he 
leaped  with  rage  as  I  split  it  with  a  hatchet,  and  counted  two 
hundred  and  fifty  Mexican  doubloons  on  the  deck.  His  ca,rgo^ 
however^  proved  to  he  a  sham  of  samples. 

Turning  innocently  to  Escudero,  I  remarked  that  he  must 
have  been  put  to  considerable  trouble  in  rescuing  me  from  this 
outlaw,  and  hoped  he  would  suffer  his  men  to  be  recompensed 
for  their  extra  toil  under  the  rays  of  an  African  sun.  I  would 
not  venture  to  judge  the  value  of  such  devoted  services ;  but 
requested  him  to  fix  his  own  price  and  receive  payment  on  the 
spot. 

Escudero  very  naturally  supposed  that  ahout  two  hundred 
and  fifty  Mexican  ounces  would  compensate  him  to  a  fraction, 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  199 

and,  accordingly,  the  two  hundred  and  fifty  shiners,  glistening  on 
the  deck,  forthwith  returned  to  their  bag  and  went  overboard  into 
his  boat. 

"  Adieu !  mon  cher^^  said  I,  as  I  followed  the  gold  ;  "  la 
fortune  de  guerre  has  many  phases,  you  see ;  how  do  you  like 
this  one  ?  The  next  game  you  play  on  the  coast  of  Africa,  my 
chicken,  recollect  that  though  a  knave  can  take  a  trick,  yet  the 
knave  may  be  trumped  before  the  hand  is  played  out  I " 


2oe 


CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 


CHAPTER      XXVIII. 


La  Esperanza  discharged  her  cargo  rapidly,  but,  before  I  was 
ready  to  send  back  a  living  freight,  poor  Escudero  fell  a  victim 
to  African  fever. 

I  had  seen  much  of  the  country ;  I  had  made  some  money  ; 
my  clerk  was  a  reliable  fellow ;  I  was  growing  somewhat  anxious 
for  a  change  of  scene  ;  and,  in  fact,  I  only  wanted  a  decent  ex- 
cuse to  find  myself  once  more  aboard  a  "  skimmer  of  the  seas," 
for  a  little  relaxation  after  the  oppressive  monotony  of  a  slaver's 
life.  Escudero's  death  seemed  to  offer  the  desired  opportunity. 
His  mate  was  an  inexperienced  seaman  ;  his  oflBcers  were  unac- 
quainted  with  the  management  of  a  slave  cargo  ;  and,  upon  a 
view  of  the  whole  field  of  interests,  I  thought  it  best  to  take 
charge  of  the  schooner  and  pay  a  visit  to  my  friends  in  Cuba. 
In  the  mean  time,  however,  a  Danish  brig  arrived  for  negroes, 
so  that  it  became  necessary  for  me,  with  my  multiplied  duties, 
to  bestir  myself  in  the  collection  of  slaves. 

Whilst  I  was  dining  one  afternoon  at  Ormond's  factory  with 
the  Danish  captain  of  the  trader,  the  boom  of  a  gun,  followed 
rapidly  by  two  or  three  more,  announced  the  arrival  of  another 
craft.  We  drank  a  toast  to  his  advent,  and  were  beginning  to 
condole  a  little  over  our  difficulty  in  procuring  blacks,  when  the 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  201 

look-out  ran  into  our  room  with  the  report  that  my  Spaniard 
vras  firing  into  the  Dane.  "We  rushed  to  the  piazza  whence  the 
scene  of  action  might  be  beheld,  and  another  shot  from  my  ves- 
sel seemed  to  indicate  that  she  was  the  aggressor.  The  Dane 
and  myself  hurried  aboard  our  respective  schooners,  but  when  I 
reached  the  Esperanza,  my  crew  were  weighing  anchor,  while  the 
quarter-deck  was  strewn  with  fire-arms.  The  mate  stood  on  the 
heel  of  the  bowsprit,  urging  his  men  to  alacrity  ;  the  sailors  hove 
at  the  windlass  with  mingled  shouts  of  passion  and  oaths  of 
revenge  ;  on  a  mattress  lay  the  bleeding  form  of  my  second  offi- 
cer, while  a  seaman  groaned  beside  him  with  a  musket  ball  in 
his  shoulder. 

My  arrival  was  the  signal  for  a  pause.  As  quickl}^  as  possi- 
ble, I  inquired  into  the  affray,  which  had  originated  like  many  a 
sailor's  dispute,  on  a  question  of  precedence  at  the  watering 
place  in  a  neighboring  brook.  The  Danes  were  seven,  and  we 
but  three.  Our  Spaniards  had  been  driven  off,  and  my  second 
mate,  in  charge  of  the  yawl,  received  a  trenchant  blow  from  an 
oar-blade,  which  cut  his  skull  and  felled  him  senseless  on  the 
Band. 

Of  course,  "  the  watering  "  was  over  for  the  day,  and  both 
boats  returned  to  their  vessels  to  tell  their  stories.  The  mo- 
ment the  Danes  got  on  board,  they  imprudently  ran  up  their 
ensign  ;  and,  as  this  act  of  apparent  defiance  occurred  just  as  tlie 
Esperanza  was  receiving  the  lifeless  form  of  her  ofiicer,  my  ex- 
cited crew  discharged  a  broadside  in  reply  to  the  warlike  token. 
Gun  followed  gun,  and  musketry  rattled  against  musketry.  The 
Dane  miscalculated  the  range  of  the  guns,  and  his  grape  fell 
short  of  my  schooner,  while  our  snarling  sixes  made  sad  havoc 
with  his  bulwarks  and  rigging. 

I  had  hardly  learned  the  facts  of  the  case  and  thought  of  a 
truce,  when  the  passionate  Northman  sent  a  round-shot  whistling 
over  my  head.  Another  and  another  followed  in  its  wake,  but 
they  aimed  too  high  for  damage.  At  twenty-four  our  blood  is 
not  so  diplomatically  pacific  as  in  later  years,  and  this  second 
aggression  rekindled  the  lava  in  my  Italian  veins.  There  was 
no  longer  question  of  a  white  flag  or  a  parley.  In  a  twinkling, 
9* 


202  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

I  slipped  my  cable  and  ran  up  the  jib  and  mainsail,  so  as  to 
swing  the  schooner  into  a  raking  position  at  short  quarters ;  and 
before  the  Dane  could  counteract  my  manoeuvre,  I  gave  him  a 
dose  of  gi-ape  and  cannister  which  tore  his  ensign  to  ribbons  and 
spoiled  the  looks  of  his  hull  materially.  My  second  shot  splin- 
tered the  edge  of  his  mast ;  but  while  I  was  making  ready  for  a 
third,  to  tickle  him  betwixt  wind  and  water,  down  tumbled  his 
impertinent  pendant  and  the  day  was  won. 

For  a  while  there  was  a  dead  silence  between  the  warriors. 
Neither  hailed  nor  sent  a  boat  on  board  of  the  other.  Ormond 
perceived  this  cessation  of  hostilities  from  his  piazza  at  Banga- 
lang,  and  coming  out  in  a  canoe,  rowed  to  the  Dane  after  hear- 
ing my  version  of  the  battle. 

I  waited  anxiously  either  for  his  return  or  a  message,  but  as 
I  was  unadvised  of  the  Mongo's  views  and  temper  in  regard  to 
the  affray,  I  thought  it  well,  before  dark,  to  avoid  treachery  by 
quitting  the  river  and  placing  my  schooner  in  a  creek  with  her 
broadside  to  the  shore.  Special  charge  was  then  given  to  the 
mate  and  men  to  be  alert  all  night  long ;  after  which,  I  went 
on  shore  to  protect  the  rear  by  placing  my  factory  in  a  state 
of  defence. 

But  my  precautions  were  needless.  At  daylight  the  guard 
brought  us  news  of  the  Dane's  departure,  and  when  I  descended 
the  river  to  Bangalang,  Ormond  alleged  that  the  slaver  had 
sailed  for  Sierra  Leone  to  seek  succor  either  from  a  man-of-war 
or  the  British  government. 

It  may  be  supposed  that  I  was  not  so  "  green  "  in  Africa  as 
to  believe  this  story.  No  vessel,  equipped  for  a  slave  cargo, 
would  dare  to  enter  the  imperial  colony.  Yet  the  Northman 
had  bitter  cause  for  grief  and  anger.  His  vessel  was  seriously 
harmed  by  my  grape-shot ;  his  carpenter  was  slain  during  the 
action ;  and  three  of  his  seaman  were  lingering  with  desperate 
wounds.  In  a  few  days,  however,  he  returned  to  the  Rio  Pongo 
from  his  airing  on  the  x\tlantic,  where  his  wrath  had  probably 
been  somewhat  cooled  by  the  sea-breeze.  His  craft  was  anchored 
higher  up  the  river  than  my  Spaniard,  and  thus  our  crews  avoided 
intercourse  for  the  future. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  203 

But  this  was  not  the  case  with  the  captains.  The  Mongo's 
table  was  a  sort  of  neutral  ground,  at  which  we  met  with  cold 
salutations  but  without  conversation.  Ormond  and  the  Dane, 
however,  became  exceedingly  intimate.  Indeed,  the  mulatto 
appeared  to  exhibit  a  degree  of  friendship  for  the  Margaritan 
I  had  never  seen  him  bestow  on  any  one  else.  This  singularity, 
together  with  his  well-known  insincerity,  put  me  on  my  guard  to 
watch  his  proceedings  with  increased  caution. 

Personal  observation  is  always  a  safe  means  of  self-assurance ; 
yet  I  have  sometimes  found  it  to  be  "  a  way  of  the  world," — 
not  to  be  altogether  scorned  or  disregarded, — to  purcJiase  the 
good  will  of  "  confidential "  persons.  Accordingly,  I  made  it 
"  worth  the  while  "  of  Ormond's  body-servant  to  sift  the  secret 
of  this  sudden  devotion ;  and  in  a  few  days  the  faithless  slave, 
who  spoke  English  remarkably  well,  told  me  that  the  Dane,  by 
dint  of  extra  pay  and  the  secret  delivery  of  all  his  spare  pro- 
visions and  the  balance  of  his  cargo,  had  induced  the  Mongo 
to  promise  the  delivery  of  his  slaves  before  mine. 

Now,  Ormond,  by  a  specific  contract, — made  and  paid  for 
before  the  Dane's  arrival, — owed  me  two  hundred  negroes  on 
account  of  the  Esperanza's  cargo.  The  Dane  knew  this  per- 
fectly, but  my  severe  chastisement  rankled  in  his  heart,  and  made 
him  seek  revenge  in  the  most  effectual  way  on  the  coast  of  Africa. 
He  was  bent  upon  depriving  me  of  one  hundred  negroes,  in  the 
hands  of  Mr.  Ormond. 

I  said  nothing  of  my  discovery,  nor  did  I  make  any  remarks 
on  the  astonishiog  love  that  existed  between  these  Siamese  twins; 
still,  I  kept  my  eye  on  Ormond's  barracoon  until  I  found  his 
stock  had  gradually  augmented  to  three  hundred.  Thereupon, 
I  dropped  in  one  morning  unceremoniously,  and,  in  a  gentle 
voice,  told  him  of  his  treacherous  design.  My  ancient  patron 
was  so  degraded  by  debauchery,  that  he  not  only  avoided  a  pas- 
sionate outburst  when  I  made  the  charge,  but  actually  seemed 
to  regard  it  as  a  sort  of  capital  joke,  or  recompense  for  the  dam- 
age I  had  inflicted  on  the  Dane  !  We  did  not  dream  of  arguing 
the  propriety  or  impropriety  of  his  conduct ;  nor  did  I  think  of 
upbraiding  him  with  baseness,  as  I  would  have  done  any  one 


204  CAPTAIN    CANOT  :    OR, 

wbo  had  dipped  only  his  finger-tips  in  fraud.  Still,  ever  and 
anon,  I  saw  a  glimmer  of  former  spirit  in  the  wretch,  and  thought 
I  would  attempt  a  counter-mine  of  interest,  which  Ormond  might 
probably  understand  and  grasp.  I  resolved,  in  fact,  to  outbid 
the  Dane,  for  I  thought  I  possessed  a  card  that  could  take  him. 
Accordingly,  I  offered  to  surrender  a  bond  for  one  hundred  slaves 
he  owed  me  on  account  of  the  Esperanza ;  I  promised,  moreover, 
one  hundred  and  fifty  negroes,  to  be  delivered  that  evening. — and 
I  tendered  BruloVs  promissoiy  note  for'  the  missing  two  hun- 
dred darkies^ — if  he  would  pledge  himself  to  load  the  Dane 
during  the  succeeding  night ! 

Ormond  took  the  hint  like  tinder,  and  grasped  my  hand  on  the 
bargain.  The  Dane  was  ordered  to  prepare  his  vessel  to  receive 
cargo  without  delay,  and  was  specially  desired  to  drop  down 
about  fifteen  miles  towards  the  har^  so  as  to  he  off  the  moment  his 
slaves  were  under  hatches  ! 

For  the  next  six  hours  there  was  not  a  busier  bee  on  the  Rio 
Pongo  than  Don  Teodore.  My  schooner  was  put  in  ship-shape 
for  cargo.  The  mate  was  ordered  to  have  his  small  arras  and 
cutlasses  in  perfect  condition.  Our  pivot  gun  was  double-loaded 
with  chain-shot.  My  factory  was  set  in  order,  and  written  direc- 
tions given  the  clerk  in  anticipation  of  a  four  months'  absence. 
Ali-Ninpha  was  put  in  charge  of  the  territorial  domain,  while 
my  Spaniard  was  intrusted  with  the  merchandise. 

It  was  encouraging  to  see,  in  the  course  of  the  afternoon,  that 
my  northern  rival  had  swallowed  the  bait,  for  he  borrowed  a 
kedge  to  aid  him,  as  he  said,  in  descending  the  river  against  the 
tide,  in  order  to  ^^  get  a  better  bertli?''  He  found  the  trees  and 
air  uncomfortable  sixteen  miles  from  the  bar,  and  wanted  to 
approach  it  to  be  "  nearer  the  sea-breeze  !  "  The  adroitness  of 
his  excuse  made  me  laugh  in  my  sleeve,  as  the  clumsy  trickster 
shot  past  me  with  his  sails  unbent. 

Well, — night  came  on,  with  as  much  darkness  as  ever  robes 
the  starlit  skies  of  Africa  when  the  moon  is  obscured.  My  long 
boat  was  quickly  filled  with  ten  men,  armed  with  pistol  and  cat- 
lass  ;  and  in  a  short  time,  the  canoes  from  Bangalang  hove  in  sight 
with  their  sable  burden.     I  boarded  the  first  one  myself,  com- 


TWENTY     YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  205 

manding  the  rowers  to  pull  for  my  Spaniard.  The  second  was 
seized  by  the  mate,  who  followed  in  my  wake.  The  third,  fourth, 
fifth  and  sixth,  shared  the  same  fate  in  rapid  succession ;  so 
that,  in  an  hour,  three  hundred  and  seventy-five  negroes  were 
safe  beneath  the  Esperanza's  deck.  Thereupon,  T  presented  the 
headman  of  each  canoe  a  document  acknowledging  the  receipt  of 
his  slaves,  and  ivrotc  an  order  on  the  Mongo  in  favor  of  the 
Dane,  for  the  full  amount  of  tJte  darkies  I  had  borrowed  ! 

The  land  wind  sprang  up  and  the  tide  turned  when  daylight 
warned  me  it  was  time  to  be  off;  and,  as  I  passed  the  Dane 
snugly  at  anchor  just  inside  the  bar,  I  called  all  hands  to  give 
three  cheers,  and  to  wish  him  happiness  in  the  "  enjoyment  of 
his  sea-breeze." 


206  CAPTAIN    CANOT  j    OR, 


CHAPTER    XXIX. 

When  the  land  breeze  died  away,  it  fell  entirely  calm,  and  the 
sea  continued  an  unruffled  mirror  for  three  days,  during  which 
the  highlands  remained  in  sight,  like  a  faint  cloud  in  the  east. 
The  glaring  sky  and  the  reflecting  ocean  acted  and  reacted  on 
each  other  until  the  air  glowed  like  a  furnace.  Daring  night  a 
dense  fog  enveloped  the  vessel  with  its  clammy  folds.  When 
the  vapor  lifted  on  the  fourth  morning,  our  look-out  announced 
a  sail  from  the  mast-head,  and  every  eye  was  quickly  sweeping 
the  landward  horizon  in  search  of  the  stranger.  Our  spies  along 
the  beach  had  reported  the  coast  clear  of  cruisers  when  I  sailed, 
so  that  I  hardly  anticipated  danger  from  men-of-war  ;  neverthe- 
less, we  held  it  discreet  to  avoid  intercourse,  and  accordingly, 
our  double-manned  sweeps  were  rigged  out  to  impel  us  slowly 
towards  the  open  ocean.  Presently,  the  mate  went  aloft  with 
his  glass,  and,  after  a  deliberate  gaze,  exclaimed  :  "  It  is  only 
the  Dane, — I  see  his  flag."  At  this  my  crew  swore  they  would 
sooner  fight  than  sweep  in  such  a  latitude  ;  and,  with  three 
cheers,  came  aft  to  request  that  I  would  remain  quietly  where  I 
was  until  the  Northman  overhauled  us. 

We  made  so  little  headway  with  oars  that  I  thought  the  dif- 
ference trifling,  whether  we  pulled  or  were  becalmed.  Perhaps, 
it  might  be  better  to  keep  the  hands  fresh,  if  a  conflict  proved 
inevitable.     I  passed  quickly  among  the  men,  with  separate  in- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  207 

quiries  as  to  their  readiness  for  battle,  and  found  all — from  the 
boy  to  the  mate — anxious,  at  every  hazard,  to  do  their  duty. 
Our  breakfast  was  as  cold  as  could  be  served  in  such  a  climate, 
but  I  made  it  palatable  with  a  case  of  claret. 

When  a  sail  on  the  coast  of  Africa  heaves  in  sight  of  a  slaver^ 
it  is  always  best  for  the  imperilled  craft,  especially  if  gifted  with 
swift  hull  and  spreading  wings,  to  take  flight  without  the  courte- 
sies that  are  usual  in  mercantile  sea-life.  At  the  present  day, 
fighting  is,  of  course,  out  of  the  question,  and  the  valuable  prize 
is  abandoned  by  its  valueless  owners.  At  all  times,  however, — 
and  as  a  guard  against  every  risk,  whether  the  cue  be  to  fight  or 
fly, — the  prudent  slaver,  as  soon  as  he  finds  himself  in  the  neigh- 
borhood of  unwholesome  canvas,  puts  out  his  fire,  nails  his  fore- 
castle, sends  his  negroes  below,  and  secures  the  gratings  over  his 
hatches. 

All  these  preparations  were  quietly  made  on  board  the  Espe- 
ranza  ;  and,  in  addition,  I  ordered  a  supply  of  small  arms  and 
ammunition  on  deck,  where  they  were  instantly  covered  with 
blaukets.  Every  man  was  next  stationed  at  his  post,  or  where 
he  might  be  most  serviceable.  The  cannons  were  sponged  and 
loaded  with  care  ;  and,  as  I  desired  to  deceive  our  new  acquaint- 
ance, I  ran  up  the  Portuguese  flag.  The  calm  still  continued  as 
the  day  advanced  ; — indeed,  I  could  not  perceive  a  breath  of  air 
by  our  dog-vane,  which  veered  from  side  to  side  as  the  schooner 
rolled  slowly  on  the  lazy  swell.  The  stranger  did  not  approach, 
nor  did  we  advance.     There  we  hung — 

"A  painted  ship  upon  a  painted  ocean  !  " 

I  cannot  describe  the  fretful  anxiety  which  vexes  a  mind  under 
such  circumstances.  Slaves  below  ;  a  blazing  sun  above  ;  the 
boiling  sea  beneath ;  a  withering  air  around ;  decks  piled  with 
materials  of  death;  escape  unlikely;  a  phantom  in  chase  behind; 
the  ocean  like  an  unreachable  eternity  before ;  uncertainty  every 
where ;  and,  within  your  skull,  a  feverish  mind,  harassed  by 
doubt  and  responsibility,  yet  almost  craving  for  any  act  of  des- 
peration that  will  remove  the  spell.  It  is  a  living  night-mare, 
from  which  the  soul  pants  to  be  free. 


208 

With  torments  like  these,  I  paced  the  deck  for  half  an  hour 
beneath  the  awning,  when,  seizing  a  telescope  and  mounting  the 
rigging,  I  took  deliberate  aim  at  the  annojer.  He  was  full 
seven  or  eight  miles  away  from  us,  but  very  soon  I  saw,  or  fan- 
cied I  saw,  a  row  of  ports,  which  the  Dane  had  not :  then  sweep- 
ing the  horizon  a  little  astern  of  the  craft,  I  distinctly  made  out 
three  boats,  fully  manned,  making  for  us  with  ensigns  flying. 

Anxious  to  avoid  a  panic,  I  descended  leisurely,  and  ordered 
the  sweeps  to  be  spread  once  more  in  aid  of  the  breeze,  which, 
within  the  last  ten  minutes,  had  freshened  enough  to  fan  us  along 
about  a  knot  an  hour.  Next,  I  imparted  my  discovery  to  the 
officers  ;  and,  passing  once  more  among  the  men  to  test  their 
nerves,  I  said  it  was  likely  they  would  have  to  encounter  an 
angrier  customer  than  the  Dane.  In  fact,  I  frankly  told  them 
our  antagonist  was  unquestionably  a  British  cruiser  of  ten  or 
twelve  guns,  from  whose  clutches  there  was  no  escape,  unless  we 
repulsed  the  boats. 

I  found  my  crew  as  confident  in  the  face  of  augmented  risk 
as  they  had  been  when  we  expected  the  less  perilous  Dane. 
Collecting  their  votes  for  fight  or  surrender,  I  learned  that  all 
hut  two  were  in  favor  of  resistance.  I  had  no  doubt  in  regard 
to  the  rtiates^  in  our  approaching  trials. 

By  this  time  the  breeze  had  again  died  away  to  utter  calm- 
ness, while  the  air  was  so  still  and  fervent  that  our  sweltering 
men  almost  sank  at  the  sweeps.  I  ordered  them  in,  threw  over- 
board several  water-casks  that  encumbered  the  deck,  and  hoisted 
our  boat  to  the  stern-davits  to  prevent  boarding  in  that  quarter. 
Things  were  perfectly  ship-shape  all  over  the  schooner,  and  I 
congratulated  myself  that  her  power  had  been  increased  by  two 
twelve  pound  carronades,  the  ammunition,  and  part  of  the  crew 
of  a  Spanish  slaver,  abandoned  on  the  bar  of  Bio  Pongo  a  week 
before  my  departure.  We  had  in  all  three  guns,  and  abundance 
of  musketry,  pistoh  and  cutlasses,  to  be  wielded  and  managed 
by  thirty-seven  hands. 

By  this  time  the  British  boats,  impelled  by  oars  alone, 
approached  within  half  a  mile,  while  the  breeze  sprang  up  in 
cat's-paws  all  round  the  eastern  horizon,  but  without  fanning  us 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  209 

with  a  single  breath.  Taking  advantage  of  one  of  these  slants, 
the  cruiser  had  followed  her  boats,  but  now,  about  five  miles  off, 
was  again  as  perfectly  becalmed  as  we  had  been  all  day.  Pre- 
sently, I  observed  the  boats  converge  within  the  range  of  my 
swivel,  and  lay  on  their  oars  as  if  for  consultation.  I  seized  this 
opportunity,  while  the  enemy  was  huddled  together,  to  give  him 
the  first  welcome  ;  and,  slewing  the  schooner  round  with  my 
sweeps,  I  sent  him  a  shot  from  my  swivel.  But  the  ball  passed 
over  their  heads,  while,  with  three  cheers,  they  separated, — the 
largest  boat  making  directly  for  our  waist,  while  the  others  steered 
to  cross  our  bow  and  attack  our  stern. 

During  the  chase  my  weapons,  with  the  exception  of  the  pivot 
gun,  were  altogether  useless,  but  I  kept  a  couple  of  sweeps 
ahead  and  a  couple  astern  to  play  the  schooner,  and  employed 
that  loud-tongued  instrument  as  the  foe  approached.  The  larger 
boat,  bearing  a  small  carronade,  was  my  best  target,  yet  we  con- 
trived to  miss  each  other  completely  until  my  sixth  discharge, 
when  a  double  headed  shot  raked  the  whole  bank  of  starboard 
oar-blades,  and  disabled  the  rowers  by  the  severe  concussion. 
This  paralyzed  the  launch's  advance,  and  allowed  me  to  devote 
my  exclusive  attention  to  the  other  boats;  yet,  before  I  could 
bring  the  schooner  in  a  suitable  position,  a  signal  summoned  the 
assailants  aboard  the  cruiser  to  repair  damages.  I  did  not 
reflect  until  this  moment  of  reprieve,  that,  early  in  the  day,  I 
had  hoisted  the  Portuguese  ensign  to  deceive  tli.e  Dane,  and 
imprudently  left  it  aloft  in  the  presence  of  John  Bull !  I  struck 
the  false  flag  at  once,  unfurled  the  Spanish,  and  refreshing  the 
men  with  a  double  allowance  of  grog  and  grub,  put  them 
again  to  the  sweeps.  When  the  cruisers  reached  their  vessels, 
the  men  instantly  re-embarkcd,  while  the  boats  were  allowed  to 
swing  alongside,  which  convinced  me  tliat  the  assanlt  would  be 
renewed  as  soon  as  the  rum  and  roast-beef  of  Old  England  had 
strengthened  the  heart  of  the  adversary.  Accordingly,  noon  had 
not  long  passed  when  our  pursuers  again  embarked.  Once  more 
they  approached,  divided  as  before,  and  again  we  exchanged 
ineffectual  shots.  I  kept  them  at  bay  with  grape  and  musketry 
until  near  three  o'clock,  when  a  second   signal  of  retreat  was 


210  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

hoisted  on  the  cruiser,  and  answered  by  exultant  vivas  from  my 
crew.  It  grieved  me,  I  confess,  not  to  mingle  my  voice  with 
these  shouts,  for  I  was  sure  that  the  lion  retreated  to  make  a 
better  spring,  nor  was  I  less  disheartened  when  the  mate  reported 
that  nearly  all  the  ammunition  for  our  cannons  was  exhausted. 
Seven  kegs  of  powder  were  still  in  the  magazine,  though  not 
more  than  a  dozen  rounds  of  grape,  cannister,  or  balls,  remained 
in  the  locker.  There  was  still  an  abundance  of  cartridges  for 
pistols  and  musketry,  but  these  were  poor  defences  against  reso- 
lute Englishmen  whose  blood  was  up  and  who  would  unques- 
tionably renew  the  charge  with  reinforcements  of  vigorous  men. 
Fore  and  aft,  high  and  low,  we  searched  for  missiles.  Musket 
balls  were  crammed  in  bags  ;  bolts  and  nails  were  packed  in 
cartridge  paper  ;  slave  shackles  were  formed  with  rope  yarns 
into  chain-shot ;  and,  in  an  hour,  we  were  once  more  tolerably 
prepared  to  pepper  the  foe. 

When  these  labors  terminated,  I  turned  my  attention  to  the 
relaxed  crew,  portions  of  whom  refused  wine,  and  began  to  sulk 
about  the  decks.  As  yet  only  two  had  been  slightly  scratched 
by  spent  musket  balls ;  but  so  much  discontent  began  to  appear 
among  the  passenger-sailors  of  the  wrecked  slaver,  that  my  own 
hands  could  with  difficulty  restrain  them  from  revolt.  I  felt 
much  difficulty  in  determining  how  to  act,  but  I  had  no  time  for 
deliberation.  Violence  was  clearly  not  my  role,  but  persuasion 
was  a  delicate  game  in  such  straits  among  men  whom  I  did  not 
command  with  the  absolute  authority  of  a  master.  I  cast  my 
eye  over  the  taffrail,  and  seeing  that  the  British  boats  were  still 
afar,  I  followed  my  first  impulse,  and  calling  the  whole  gang  to 
the  quarter-deck,  tried  the  effect  of  African  palaver  and  Spanish 
gold.  I  spoke  of  the  perils  of  capture  and  of  the  folly  of  sur- 
rendering a  slaver  while  there  was  the  slightest  hope  of  escape. 
I  painted  the  unquestionable  result  of  being  taken  after  such  re- 
sistance as  had  already  been  made.  I  drew  an  accurate  picture 
of  a  tall  and  dangerous  instrument  on  which  piratical  gentlemen 
have  sometimes  been  known  to  terminate  their  lives ;  and  finally, 
I  attempted  to  improve  the  rhythm  of  my  oratory  by  a  couple  of 
golden  ounces  to  each  combatant,  and  the  promise  of  a  slave 
apiece  at  the  end  of  our  successful  voyage 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AX    AFPICAN    SLAVER.  211 

M}'  suspense  was  terrible,  as  there, — on  the  deck  of  a  slaver, 
amid  calm,  heat,  battle,  and  mutiny,  with  a  volcano  of  three  hun- 
dred and  seventy  five  imprisoned  devils  below  me, — I  awaited  a 
reply,  which,  favorable  or  unfavorable,  I  must  hear  without  emo- 
tion. Presently,  three  or  four  came  forward  and  accepted  my 
offer.  I  shrugged  my  shoulders,  and  took  half  a  dozen  turns  up 
and  down  the  deck.  Then,  turning  to  the  crowd,  I  doubled  my 
bounty^  and  offering  a  boat  to  take  the  recusants  on  board  the 
enemy,  swore  that  I  would  stand  by  the  Esparanza  with  my  un- 
aided crew  in  spite  of  the  dastards  ! 

The  offensive  word  with  which  I  closed  the  harangue  seemed 
to  touch  the  right  string  of  the  Spanish  guitar,  and  in  an  instant 
I  saw  the  dogged  heads  spring  up  with  a  jerk  of  mortified  pride, 
while  the  steward  and  cabin-boy  poured  in  a  fresh  supply  of 
wine,  and  a  shout  of  union  went  up  from  both  divisions.  I  lost 
no  time  in  confirming  my  converts ;  and,  ramming  down  my  elo- 
quence with  a  wad  of  doubloons,  ordered  every  n^an  to  his  post, 
for  the  enemy  was  again  in  motion. 

But  he  did  not  come  alone.  New  actors  had  appeared  on  the 
scene  during  my  engagement  with  the  crew.  The  sound  of  the 
cannonade  had  licen  heard,  it  seems,  by  a  consort  of  his  Britannic 
Majesty's  brig  ******  and,  although  the  battle  was  not 
within  her  field  of  vision,  she  despatched  another  squadron  of 
boats  under  the  guidance  of  the  reports  that  boomed  through  the 
silent  air. 

The  first  division  of  my  old  assailants  was  considerably  in  ad- 
vance of  the  reinforcement ;  and,  in  perfect  order,  approached  us 
in  a  solid  body,  with  the  apparent  determination  of  boarding  on 
the  same  side.  Accordingly,  I  brought  all  my  weapons  and 
hands  to  that  quarter,  and  told  both  gunners  and  musketeers  not 
to  fire  without  orders.  Waiting  their  discharge,  I  allowed  them 
to  get  close;  but  the  commander  of  the  launch  seemed  to  antici- 
pate my  plan  by  the  reservation  of  his  fire  till  he  could  draw 
mine,  in  order  to  throw  his  other  boat-loads  on  board  under  the 


*  It  will  be   understood   by  the   reader,  hereafter,  Avhy   I  omit   tho 
cruiser's  name. 


212  CAPTAIN  canot;  or,- 

gmoke  of  his  swivel  and  small  arms.  It  was  odd  to  witness  cup 
mutual  forbearance,  nor  could  I  help  laughing,  even  in  the  midst 
of  danger,  at  the  mutual  checkmate  we  were  trying  to  prepare. 
However,  my  Britons  did  not  avoid  pulling,  though  they  omit- 
ted firing,  so  that  they  were  already  rather  perilously  close  when 
I  thought  it  best  to  give  them  the  contents  of  my  pivot,  which  I 
had  crammed  almost  to  the  muzzle  with  bolts  and  bullets.  The 
discharge  paralyzed  the  advance,  while  my  carronades  flung  a 
quantity  of  grape  into  the  companion  boats.  In  turn,  however, 
they  plied  us  so  deftly  with  balls  from  swivels  and  musketry, 
that  five  of  our  most  valuable  defenders  writhed  in  death  on  the 
deck. 

The  rage  of  battle  at  closer  quarters  than  heretofore,  and  the 
screams  of  bleeding  comrades  beneath  their  feet,  roused  to  its 
fullest  extent  the  ardent  nature  of  my  Spanish  crew.  They  tore 
their  garments ;  stripped  to  their  waists ;  called  for  rum  ;  and 
swore  they  would  die  rather  than  yield  ! 

By  this  time  the  consort's  reinforcement  was  rapidly  ap- 
proaching; and,  with  hurrah  after  hurrah,  the  five  fresh  boats! 
came  on  in  double  column.  As  they  drew  within  shot,  each 
cheer  was  followed  with  a  fatal  volley,  under  which  several  more 
of  our  combatants  were  prostrated,  while  a  glancing  musket  balll 
lacerated  my  knee  with  a  painful  wound.  For  five  minutes  we 
met  this  onset  with  cannon,  muskets,  pistols,  and  enthusiastic 
shouts ;  but  in  the  despairing  confusion  of  the  hour,  the  captain 
of  our  long  gun  rammed  home  his  ball  before  the  powder,  so  that 
when  the  priming  burnt,  the  most  reliable  of  our  weapons  was 
silent  for  ever  !  At  this  moment  a  round  shot  from  the  launch 
dismounted  a  carronade  ; — our  ammunition  was  wasted  ; — and  in 
this  disabled  state,  the  Britons  prepared  to  board  our  crippled 
craft.  Muskets,  bayonets,  pistols,  swords,  and  knives,  for  a 
space  kept  them  at  bay,  even  at  short  (quarters  ;  but  the  crowded 
boats  tumbled  their  enraged  fighters  over  our  forecastle  like 
surges  from  the  sea,  and,  cutlass  in  hand,  the  victorious  furies 
swept  every  thing  before  them.  The  cry  was  to  "  spare  no  one !  " 
Down  went  sailor  after  sailor,  struggling  with  the  frenzied  pas- 
Bion  of  despair.     Presently  an  order  went  forth  to  split  the  grat- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  213 

ings  and  release  the  slaves.  I  clung  to  my  post  and  cheered  the 
battle  to  the  last ;  but  when  I  heard  this  fatal  command,  which, 
if  obeyed,  might  bury  assailant  and  defender  in  common  ruin,  I 
ordered  the  remnant  to  throw  down  their  arms,  while  I  struck 
the  flag  and  warned  the  rash  and  testy  Englishman  to  beware. 

The  senior  officer  of  the  boarding  party  belonged  to  the  divi- 
sion from  the  cruiser's  consort.  As  he  reached  the  deck,  his  cle- 
ment eye  fell  sadly  on  the  scene  of  blood,  and  he  commanded 
"quarter"  immediately.  It  was  time.  The  excited  boarders  from 
the  repulsed  boats  had  mounted  T)ur  deck  brimming  with  revenge. 
Every  one  that  opposed  was  cut  down  without  mercy  ;  and  in  an- 
other moment,  it  is  likely  I  would  have  joined  the  throng  of  the 
departed. 

All  was  over  !  There  was  a  hushed  and  panting  crowd  of 
victors  and  vanquished  on  the  bloody  deck,  when  the  red  ball  of 
the  setting  sun  glared  through  a  crimson  haze  and  filled  the  mo- 
tionless sea  with  li(|uid  fire.  For  the  first  time  that  day  I  be- 
came sensible  of  personal  sufi'erings.  A  stifling  sensation  made 
me  gasp  for  air  as  I  sat  down  on  the  taftrail  of  my  captured 
schooner,  and  felt  that  I  was — a  prisoner  ! 


214  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 


CHAPTER   XXX. 

After  a  brief  pause,  the  commanding  officers  of  both  divisions 
demanded  my  papers,  which,  while  I  acknowledged  myself  his 
prisoner,  I  yielded  to  the  senior  personage  who  had  humanely 
stopped  the  massacre.  I  saw  that  this  annoyed  -the  other,  whom 
I  had  so  frequently  repulsed  ;  yet  I  thought  the  act  fair  as  well  as 
agreeable  to  my  feelings,  for  I  considered  my  crew  competent  to 
resist  iho  first  division  successfully^  had  it  not  been  succored  by 
the  consort's  boats. 

But  my  decision  was  not  submitted  to  by  the  defeated  leader 
without  a  dispute,  which  was  conducted  with  infinite  harshness, 
until  the  senior  ended  the  quarrel  by  ordering  his  junior  to  tow 
the  prize  within  reach  of  the  corvette  *  *  *  *.  My  boat, 
though  somewhat  riddled  with  balls,  was  lowered,  and  I  was 
commanded  to  go  on  board  the  captor,  with  my  papers  and  ser- 
vant under  the  escort  of  a  midshipman.  The  captain  stood  at 
the  gangway  as  I  approached,  and,  seeing  my  bloody  knee, 
ordered  me  not  to  climb  the  ladder,  but  to  be  hoisted  on  deck 
and  sent  below  for  the  immediate  care  of  my  wound.  It  was 
hardly  miore  than  a  severe  laceration  of  flesh,  yet  was  quite 
enough  to  prevent  me  from  bending  my  knee,  though  it  did  not 
deny  locomotion  with  a  stiff  leg. 

The  dressing  over, — during  which  I  had  quite  a  pleasant  chat 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  215 

with  the  amiable  surgeon, — I  was  summoned  to  the  cabin,  where 
numerous  questions  were  put,  all  of  which  I  answered  frankly 
and  truly.  Thirteen  of  my  crew  were  slain,  and  nearly  all  the 
rest  wounded.  My  papers  were  next  inspected,  and  found  to  be 
Spanish.  "  How  was  it,  then,"  exclaimed  the  commander,  "  that 
you  fought  under  the  Portuguese  flag  ?  " 

Here  was  the  question  I  always  expected,  and  for  which  I 
had  in  vain  taxed  my  wit  and  ingenuity  to  supply  a  reason- 
able excuse  !  I  had  nothing  to  say  for  the  daring  violation  of 
nationality ;  so  I  resolved  to  tell  the  truth  boldly  about  my  dis- 
pute with  the  Dane,  and  my  desire  to  deceive  him  early  in  the 
day,  but  I  cautiously  omitted  the  adroitness  with  which  I  had 
deprived  him  of  his  darkies.  I  confessed  that  I  forgot  the  flag 
when  I  found  I  had  a  difi"erent  foe  from  the  Dane  to  contend 
with,  and  I  flattered  myself  with  the  hope  that,  had  I  repulsed 
the  first  unaided  onset,  I  would  have  been  able  to  escape  with 
the  usual  sea-breeze. 

The  captain  looked  at  me  in  silence  a  while,  and,  in  a  sorrow- 
ful voice,  asked  if  I  was  aware  that  my  defence  under  the  Por- 
tuguese ensign,  no  matter  what  tempted  its  use,  could  only  be 
construed  as  an  act  of  piracy  I 

A  change  of  color,  an  earnest  gaze  at  the  floor,  compressed 
lips  and  clenched  teeth,  were  my  only  replies. 

This  painful  scrutiny  took  place  before  the  surgeon,  whose 
looks  and  expressions  strongly  denoted  his  cordial  sympathy 
with  my  situation.  "  Yes,"  said  Captain  ****,"  it  is  a  pity 
fur  a  sailor  who  fights  as  bravely  as  you  have  done,  in  defence 
of  what  he  considers  his  property,  to  be  condemned  for  a  combi- 
nation of  mistakes  and  forgetfulness.  However,  let  us  not  has- 
ten matters  ;  you  are  hungry  and  want  rest,  and,  though  we  are 
navy-men,  and  on  the  coast  of  Africa,  we  are  not  savages."  I 
was  then  directed  to  remain  where  I  was  till  further  orders, 
while  my  servant  came  below  with  an  abundant  supply  of  pro- 
visions. The  captain  went  on  deck,  but  the  doctor  remained. 
Presently,  I  saw  the  surgeon  and  the  commander's  steward  busy 
over  a  basket  of  biscuits,  meat  and  bottles,  to  the  handle  of 


216 

which  a  cord,  several  yards  in  length,  was  carefully  knotted. 
After  this  was  arranged,  the  doctor  called  for  a  lamp,  and  un- 
rolling a  chart,  asked  whether  I  knew  the  position  of  the  vessel. 
I  replied  affirmatively,  and,  at  his  request,  measured  the  distance, 
and  noted  the  course  to  the  nearest  land,  which  was  Cape  Verga, 
about  thirty-seven  miles  off. 

"  Now,  Don  Teodore,  if  I  were  in  your  place,  with  the  pros- 
pect of  a  noose  and  tight-rope  dancing  before  me,  I  have  not  the 
slightest  hesitation  in  saying  that  I  would  make  an  attempt  to 
know  what  Cape  Verga  is  made  of  before  twenty-four  hours 
were  over  my  head  !  And  see,  my  good  fellow,  how  Providence, 
accident,  or  fortune  favors  you  !  First  of  all,  your  own  boat 
hapj)cn$  to  be  towing  astern  beneath  these  very  cabin  windows ; 
secondly,  a  basket  of  provisions,  water  and  brandy,  stands  packed 
on  the  transom,  almost  ready  to  slip  into  the  boat  by  itself; 
next,  your  boy  is  in  the  neighborhood  to  help  you  with  the  skiff; 
and,  finally,  it  is  pitch  dark,  perfectly  calm,  and  there  isn't  a 
sentry  to  be  seen  aft  the  cabin  door.  Now,  good  night,  my 
clever  fighter,  and  let  me  never  have  the  happiness  of  seeing  your 
face  again  !  " 

As  he  said  this,  he  rose,  shaking  my  hand  with  the  hearty 
grasp  of  a  sailor,  and,  as  he  passed  my  servant,  slipped  some- 
thing into  his  pocket,  which  proved  to  be  a  couple  of  sovereigns. 
Meanwhile,  the  steward  appeared  with  blankets,  which  he  spread 
on  the  locker ;  and,  blowing  out  the  lamp,  went  on  deck  with  a 
"  good  night." 

It  was  very  still,  and  unusually  dark.  There  was  dead 
silence  in  the  corvette.  Presently,  I  crawled  softly  to  the  stern 
window,  and  lying  flat  on  my  stomach  over  the  transom,  peered 
out  into  night.  There,  in  reality,  was  my  boat  towing  astern  by 
a  slack  line  !  As  I  gazed,  some  one  on  deck  above  me  drew  in 
the  rope  with  softest  motion,  until  the  skiff  lay  close  under  the 
windows.  Patiently,  slowly,  cautiously, — fearing  the  sound  of 
his  fall,  and  dreading  almost  the  rush  of  my  breath  in  the  pro- 
found silence, — I  lowered  my  boy  into  the  boat.  The  basket 
followed.     The  negro  fastened  the  boat-hook  to  the  cabin  win- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  217 

dow,  and  on  this,  lame  as  I  was,  I  followed  the  basket.  Fortu- 
nately, not  a  plash,  a  crack,  or  a  footfall  disturbed  the  silence. 
I  looked  aloft,  and  no  one  was  visible  on  the  quarter-deck.  A 
slight  jerk  brought  the  boat-rope  softly  into  the  water,  and  I 
drifted  away  into  the  darkness. 


218  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 


CHAPTEE    XXXI. 

I  DRIFTED  without  a  word  or  motion,  and  almost  without  breath- 
ing, until  the  corvette  was  perfectly  obliterated  against  the  hazy 
horizon.  When  every  thing  was  dark  around  me,  save  the  guid- 
ing stars,  I  put  out  the  oars  ai^d  pulled  quietly  towards  the  east. 
At  day-dawn  I  was  apparently  alone  on  the  ocean. 

My  appetite  had  improved  so  hugely  by  the  night's  exercise, 
that  my  first  devotion  was  to  the  basket,  which  I  found  crammed 
with  bologna  sausages,  a  piece  of  salt  junk,  part  of  a  ham,  abun- 
dance of  biscuit,  four  bottles  of  water,  two  of  brandy,  a  pocket 
compass,  a  jack-knife,  and  a  large  table-cloth  or  sheet,  which  the 
generous  doctor  had  no  doubt  inserted  to  serve  as  a  sail. 

The  humbled  slaver  and  the  slave^  for  the  first  time  in  their 
lives,  broke  bread  from  the  same  basket,  and  drank  from  the 
same  bottle  !  Misfortune  had  strangely  and  suddenly  levelled  us 
on  the  basis  of  common  humanity.  The  day  before,  he  was  the 
most  servile  of  menials  ;  to-day  he  was  my  equal,  and,  probably, 
my  superior  in  certain  physical  powers,  without  which  I  would 
have  perished  ! 

As  the  sun  ascended  in  the  sky,  my  wound  became  irritated 
by  exercise,  and  the  inflammation  produced  a  feverish  torment 
in  which  I  groaned  as  I  lay  extended  in  the  stern-sheets.  By 
noon  a  breeze  sprang  up  from  the  south-west,  so  that  the  oars 
and   table-cloth   supplied   a   square   sail  which  wafted  us   about 


TWENTY    YEASTS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  219 

three  miles  an  hour,  while  my  boy  rigged  an  awning  with  the 
blankets  and  boat-hooks.  Thus,  half  reclining,  I  steered  land- 
ward till  midnight,  when  I  took  in  the  sail  and  lay-to  on  the 
calm  ocean  till  morning.  Next  day  the  breeze  again  favored  us ; 
and,  by  sundown,  I  came  up  with  the  coasting  canoe  of  a  friendly 
Mandingo,  into  which  I  at  once  exchanged  my  quarters,  and  fall- 
ing asleep,  never  stirred  till  he  landed  me  on  the  Islands  de 
Loss. 

My  wound  kept  me  a  close  and  suffering  prisoner  in  a  hut  on 
the  isles  for  ten  days  during  which  I  despatched  a  native  canoe 
some  thirty-five  or  forty  miles  to  the  Rio  Pongo  with  news  of  my 
disaster,  and  orders  for  a  boat  with  an  equipment  of  comforts. 
As  my  clerk  neglected  to  send  a  suit  of  clothes,  I  was  obliged  to 
wear  the  Mandingo  habiliments  till  I  reached  my  factory,  so 
that  during  my  transit,  this  dress  became  the  means  of  an  odd 
encounter.  As  I  entered  the  Rio  Pongo,  a  French  brigantine 
near  the  bar  was  the  first  welcome  of  civilization  that  cheered 
my  heart  for  near  a  fortnight.  Passing  her  closely,  I  drifted 
alongside,  and  begged  the  commander  for  a  bottle  of  claret.  My 
brown  skin,  African  raiment,  and  savage  companions  satisfied  the 
skipper  that  I  was  a  native,  so  that,  with  a  sneer,  he,  of  course, 
became  very  solicitous  to  know  "  where  I  drank  claret  last  ?  " 
and  pointing  to  the  sea,  desired  me  to  quench  my  thirst  with 
brine ! 

It  was  rather  hard  for  a  suffering  Italian  to  be  treated  so 
cavalierly  by  a  Gaul;  but  I  thanked  the  fellow  for  his  civility  in 
such  excellent  French,  that  his  tone  instantly  changed,  and  he 
asked — "  aic  nom  clc  Dieu^  where  I  had  learned  the  language  !  " 
It  is  likely  I  would  have  rowed  off  without  detection,  had  I  not 
just  then  been  recognized  by  one  of  his  officers  who  visited  my 
factory  the  year  before. 

In  a  moment  the  captain  was  in  my  boat  with  a  bound,  and 
grasping  my  hands  with  a  thousand  pardons,  insisted  I  should  not 
ascend  the  river  till  I  had  dined  with  him.  He  promised  a  plate 
of  capital  soup ; — and  where,  I  should  like  to  know,  is  the  son  of 
France  or  Italy  who  is  ready  to  withstand  the  seduction  of  such 
a  provocative  ?     Besides  this,  he  insisted   on   dressing  me  from 


220  CAPTAIN    CANOT  \    OR, 


his  scanty  wardrobe ;  but  as  he  declined  all  subsequent  remune- 
ration, I  confined  my  bodily  improvement  to  a  clean  shirt  and  his 
wiry  razors. 

While  the  houillon  was  bubbling  in  the  coppers,  I  got  an  in- 
sight into  the  condition  of  Rio  Pongo  concerns  since  my  departure. 
The  Dane  was  oft  after  a  quarrel  with  Ormond,  who  gave  him  but  a 
hundred  negroes  for  his  cargo ;  and  a  Spanish  brig  was  waiting 
my  arrival, — for  the  boy  I  sent  home  from  the  Isles  de  Loss  had 
reported  my  engagement,  capture,  and  escape. 

La  soupe  sur  la  table^y^o.  attacked  a  smoking  tureen  oi bouillon 
gras,  while  a  heaping  dLsh  of  toasted  bread  stood  in  the  middle. 
The  captain  loaded  my  plate  with  two  slices  of  this  sunburnt  ma- 
terial, which  he  deluged  with  a  couple  of  ladles  of  savory  broth. 
A  long  fast  is  a  good  sauce,  and  I  need  not  assert  that  I  began 
sa7is  fagon.  My  appetite  was  sharp,  and  the  vapor  of  the  liquid 
inviting.  For  a  while  there  was  a  dead  silence,  save  when 
broken  by  smacking  and  relishing  lips.  Spoonful  after  spoonful 
was  sucked  in  as  rapidly  as  the  heat  allowed ;  and,  indeed,  I 
hardly  took  time  to  bestow  a  blessing  on  the  cook. .  Being  the 
guest  of  the  day,  my  plate  had  been  the  first  one  served,  and 
of  course,  was  the  first  one  finished.  Perhaps  I  rather  hurried 
myself,  for  lenten  diet  made  me  greedy  and  I  was  somewhat  anx- 
ious to  anticipate  the  calls  of  my  companions  on  the  tureen.  Ac- 
cordingly, I  once  more  ballasted  my  plate  with  toast,  and,  with 
a  charming  bow  and  a  civil  "  sHl  vous  plait^''^  applied,  like  Oliver 
Twist,  "  for  more." 

As  the  captain  was  helping  me  to  the  second  ladle,  he  po- 
litely demanded  whether  I  was  "  fond  of  the  thick  ;  "  and  as  I 
replied  in  the  affirmative,  he  made  another  dive  to  the  bottom 
and  brought  up  the  instrument  with  a  heaping  mass  in  whose  cen- 
tre was  a  diminutive  African  skull,  face  upwards,  gaping  at  the 
guests  with  an  infernal  grin  ! 

My  plate  fell  from  my  hand  at  the  tureen's  edge.  The  boil- 
ing liquid  splashed  over  the  table.  I  stood  fascinated  by  the  hor- 
rible apparition  as  the  captain  continued  to  hold  its  dreadful 
bones  in  view.     Presently  my  head  swam  ;  a  painful  oppression 


1 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  221 

weighed  at  my  heart ;   I  was  ill;  and,  in  a  jiffy,  the   appalling 
spectre  was  laid  beneath  the  calm  waters  of  the  Rio  Pongo. 

Before  sundown  I  made  a  speedy  retreat  from  among  the 
anthropophagi ;  but  all  their  assurances,  oaths,  and  protes- 
tations, could  not  satisfy  me  that  the  broth  did  not  owe  its  sub- 
stance to  somethino;  more  human  than  an  African  baboon. 


222  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 


CHAPTEK    XXXII. 

There  was  rejoicing  that  night  in  Kambia  among  my  people, 
for  it  is  not  necessary  that  a  despised  slaver  should  always  be 
a  cruel  master.  I  had  many  a  friend  among  the  villagers,  both 
there  and  at  Bangalang,  and  when  the  "  barker  "  came  from  the 
Isles  de  Loss  with  the  news  of  my  capture  and  misery,  the  settle- 
ment had  been  keenly  astir  until  it  was  known  that  Mongo  Teo- 
dore  was  safe  and  sound  among  his  protectors. 

I  had  a  deep,  refreshing  sleep  after  a  glorious  bath.  Poor 
Esther  stole  over  the  palisades  of  Bangalang  to  hear  the  story 
from  my  own  lips ;  and,  in  recompense  for  the  narrative,  gave 
me  an  account  of  the  river  gossip  during  my  adventure.  Next 
morning,  bright  and  early,  I  was  again  in  my  boat,  sweeping 
along  towards  the  "  Feliz"  from  Matanzas,  which  was  anchored 
within  a  bowshot  of  Bangalang.  As  I  rounded  a  point  in  sight 
of  her,  the  Spanish  flag  was  run  up,  and  as  I  touched  the  deck, 
a  dozen  cheers  and  a  gun  gave  token  of  a  gallant  reception  in 
consequence  of  my  battle  with  the  British,  which  had  been  mag- 
nified into  a  perfect  Trafalgar. 

The  Feliz  was  originally  consigned  to  me  from  Cuba,  but  in 
my  absence  from  the  river  her  commander  thought  it  best  not  to 
intrust  so  important  a  charge  to  my  clerk,  and  addressed  her  to 
Ormond.  When  my  arrival  at  the  Isles  de  Loss  was  announced 
on  the  river,  his  engagement  with  the  Mongo  had  neither  been 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  223 

entirely  completed,  nor  had  any  cargo  been  delivered.  Accord- 
ingly, the  skipper  at  once  taxed  his  wit  for  a  contrivance  by  which 
he  could  escape  the  bargain.  In  Africa  such  things  are  some- 
times done  with  ease  on  small  pretexts,  so  that  when  I  reached 
Kambia  my  one-hundred-and-forty-ton  brig  was  ready  for  her  ori- 
ginal consignee. 

I  found  that  remittances  in  money  and  merchandise  covered 
the  value  of  three  hundred  and  fifty  slaves,  whom  I  quickly  or- 
dered from  different  traders  ; — but  when  I  applied  to  the  Mongo 
to  furnish  his  share,  the  gentleman  indignantly  refused  under  the 
affront  of  his  recalled  assignment.  I  tried  to  pacify  and  persuade 
him  ;  yet  all  my  efforts  were  unavailing.  Still,  the  results  of  this 
denial  did  not  affect  the  Mongo  perso'nally  and  alone.  When  a 
factor  either  declines  or  is  unable  to  procure  trade  at  an  African 
station,  the  multitude  of  hangers-on,  ragamuffins,  servants  and 
villagers  around  him  suffer,  at  least,  for  a  time.  They  cannot  un- 
derstand and  are  always  disgusted  when  "  trade  is  refused."  In 
this  case  the  people  of  Bangalang  seemed  peculiarly  dissatisfied 
with  their  Mongo's  obstinacy.  They  accused  him  of  indolent  dis- 
regard of  their  interests.  They  charged  him  with  culpable  neg- 
lect. Several  free  families  departed  forthwith  to  Kambia.  His 
brothers,  who  were  always  material  sufferers  in  such  cases,  up- 
braided him  with  arrogant  conceit.  His  women,  headed  by  Fa- 
timah, — who  supplied  herself  and  her  companions  with  abundant 
presents  out  of  every  fresh  cargo, — rose  in  open  mutiny,  and  de- 
clared they  would  run  off  unless  he  accepted  a  share  of  the  con- 
tract. Fatimah  was  the  orator  of  the  harem  on  this  as  well  as 
on  all  other  occasions  of  display  or  grievance,  and  of  course  she 
did  not  spare  poor  Ormond.  Age  and  drunkenness  had  made  sad 
inroads  on  his  constitution  and  looks  during  the  last  half  year. 
His  fretful  irritability  sometimes  amounted  almost  to  madness, 
when  thirty  female  tongues  joined  in  the  chorus  of  their  le^der's, 
assault.  They  boldly  charged  him,  singly  and  in  pairs,  with  every 
vice  and  fault  that  injured  matrimony  habitually  denounces;  and  as 
each  item  of  this  abusive  litany  was  screamed  in  his  ears,  the  chorus 
responded  with  a  deep  "  amen  !  "  They  boasted  of  their  infidel- 
ities, lauded  their  lovers,  and  producing  their  children,  with 
laughs  of  derision,  bade  hiu^  pote  the  astounding  resemblance  | 


224  CAPTAIN    CANOT  \    OR, 

The  poor  Mongo  was  sorely  beset  by  these  African  witches, 
and  summoned  his  villagers  to  subdue  the  revolt ;  but  many  of 
the  town-folks  were  pets  of  the  girls,  so  that  no  one  came  forth  to 
obey  his  bidding. 

I  visited  Ormond  at  his  request  on  the  evening  of  this  rebel- 
lion, and  found  him  not  only  smarting  with  the  morning's  insult, 
but  so  drunk  as  to  be  incapable  of  business.  His  revengeful  eye 
and  nervous  movements  denoted  a  troubled  mind.  When  our 
hands  met,  I  found  the  Mongo's  cold  and  clammy.  I  refused 
wine  under  a  plea  of  illness ;  and  when,  with  incoherent  phrases 
and  distracted  gestures,  he  declared  his  willingness  to  retract 
his  refusal  and  accept  a  share  of  the  Feliz's  cargo,  I  thought  it 
best  to  adjourn  the  discussion  until  the  following  day.  Whilst 
on  the  point  of  embarking,  I  was  joined  by  the  faithless  servant, 
whom  I  bribed  to  aid  me  in  my  affair  with  the  Dane,  and  was 
told  that  Ormond  had  drugged  the  wine  in  anticipation  of  my 
arrival!  He  bade  me  be  wary  of  the  Mongo,  who  in  his  pre- 
sence had  threatened  my  life.  That  morning,  he  said,  while  the 
women  were  upbraiding  him,  my  name  had  been  mentioned  by 
one  with  peculiar  favor, — when  Ormond  burst  forth  with  a  tor- 
rent of  passion,  and  accusing  me  as  the  cause  of  all  his  troubles, 
felled  the  girl  to  the  earth  with  his  fist. 

That  night  I  was  roused  by  my  watchman  to  see  a  stranger, 
and  found  Esther  at  my  gate  with  three  of  her  companions. 
Their  tale  was  brief.  Soon  after  dark,  Ormond  entered  the 
harem  with  loaded  pistols,  in  search  of  Fatimah  and  Esther ; 
but  the  wretch  was  so  stupified  by  liquor  and  rage,  that  the 
women  had  little  trouble  to  elude  his  grasp  and  escape  from 
Bangalang.  Hardly  had  I  bestowed  them  for  the  night,  when 
another  alarm  brought  the  watchman  once  more  to  my  chamber, 
with  the  news  of  Ormond's  death.  He  had  shot  himself  through 
the  heart ! 

I  was  in  no  mood  for  sleep  after  this,  and  the  first  streak  of 
dawn  found  me  at  Bangalang.  There  lay  the  Mongo  as  he  fell. 
No  one  disturbed  his  limbs  or  approached  him  till  I  arrived. 
He  never  stirred  after  the  death-wound. 

It   seems    he    must    have   forgotten    that   the   bottle   bad 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  225 

been  specially  medicated  for  me,  as  it  was  found  nearly  drained; 
but  the  last  thing  distinctly  known  of  him  by  the  people,  was  his 
murderous  entrance  into  the  harem  to  despatch  Esther  and  Fati- 
mah.  Soon  after  this  the  crack  of  a  pistol  was  heard  in  the  gar- 
den ;  and  there,  stretched  among  the  cassava  plants,  with  a  loaded 
pistol  grasped  in  his  left,  and  a  discharged  one  at  a  short  dis- 
tance from  his  right  hand,  laid  Jack  Ormond,  the  mulatto  !  His 
left  breast  was  pierced  by  a  ball,  the  wad  of  which  still  clung  to 
the  bloody  orifice. 

Bad  as  this  man  was,  I  could  not  avoid  a  sigh  for  his  death. 
He  had  been  my  first  friend  in  Africa,  and  I  had  forfeited  his 
regard  through  no  fault  of  mine.  Besides  this,  there  are  so  few 
on  the  coast  of  Africa  in  these  lonely  settlements  among  the 
mangrove  swamps,  who  have  tasted  European  civilization,  and 
can  converse  like  human  beings,  that  the  loss  even  of  the  worst 
is  a  dire  calamity.  Ormond  and  myself  had  held  each  other  for 
a  long  time  at-  a  wary  distance  ;  yet  business  forced  us  together 
now  and  then,  and  during  the  truce,  we  had  many  a  pleasant  chat 
and  joyous  hour  that  would  henceforth  be  lost  for  ever. 

It  is  customary  in  this  part  of  Africa  to  make  the  burial  of  a 
Mo7igo  the  occasion  of  a  colungee^  or  festival,  when  all  the  neigh- 
boring chiefs  and  relations  send  gifts  of  food  and  beverage  for 
the  orgies  of  death.  Messengers  had  been  despatched  for  Or- 
mond's  brothers  and  kinsfolk,  so  that  the  native  ceremony  of  in- 
terment was  postponed  till  the  third  day ;  and,  in  the  interval,  I 
was  desired  to  make  all  the  preparations  in  a  style  befitting  the 
suicide's  station.  Accordingly,  I  issued  the  needful  orders  ; 
directed  a  deep  grave  to  be  dug  under  a  noble  cotton-wood  tree, 
aloof  from  the  village  ;  gave  the  body  in  charge  to  women,  who 
were  to  watch  it  until  burial,  with  cries  of  sorrow, — and  then 
retired  to  Kambia. 

On  the  day  of  obsequies  I  came  back.  At  noon  a  salute  was 
fired  by  the  guns  of  the  village,  which  was  answered  by  minute 
guns  from  the  Feliz  and  my  factory.  Seldom  have  I  heard  a 
sadder  sound  than  the  boom  of  those  cannons  through  the  silent 
forest  and  over  the  waveless  water. 

Presently,  all  the  neighboring  chiefs,  princes  and  kings  came 
10* 


226  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

in  with  their  retainers,  when  the  body  was  brought  out  into  the 
shade  of  a  grove,  so  that  all  might  behold  it.  Then  the  proces- 
sion took  up  its  line  of  march,  while  the  thirty  wives  of  the 
Mongo  followed  the  coffin,  clad  in  rags,  their  heads  shaven,  their 
bodies  lacerated  with  burning  iron,  and  filling  the  air  with  yells 
and  shrieks  until  the  senseless  clay  was  laid  in  the  grave. 

I  could  find  no  English  prayer-book  or  Bible  in  the  village, 
from  which  I  might  read  the  service  of  his  church  over  Ormond's 
remains,  but  I  had  never  forgotten  the  Ave  Maria  and  Pater 
Noster  I  learned  when  an  infant,  and,  while  I  recited  them 
devoutly  over  the  self-murderer,  I  could  not  help  thinking  they 
were  even  more  than  sufficient  for  the  savage  surroundings. 

The  brief  prayer  was  uttered  ;  but  it  could  not  be  too  brief 
for  the  impatient  crowd.  Its  amen  was  a  signal  for  pandemo- 
nhtm.  In  a  twinkling,  every  foot  rushed  back  to  the  dwell- 
ing in  Bangalang.  The  grove  was  alive  with  revelry.  Stakes 
and  racks  reeked  with  roasting  bullocks.  Here  and  there,  ket- 
tles steamed  with  boiling  rice.  Demijohn  after  demijohn  of 
rum  was  served  out.  Very  soon  a  sham  battle  was  proposed, 
and  parties  were  formed.  The  divisions  took  their  grounds ; 
and,  presently,  the  scouts  appeared,  crawling  like  reptiles  on  the 
earth  till  they  ascertained  each  other's  position,  when  the  armies 
sallied  forth  with  guns,  bows,  arrows,  or  lances,  and,  after  firing, 
shrieking  and  shouting  till  they  were  deaf,  retired  with  captives, 
and  the  war  was  done.  Then  came  a  reinforcement  of  rum,  and 
then  a  dance,  so  that  the  bewildering  revel  continued  in  all  its 
delirium  till  rum  and  humanity  gave  out  together,  and  reeled  to 
the  earth  in  drunken  sleep  !     Such  was  the  requiem  of 

The  Mongo  of  Bangalang  ! 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  227 


CHAPTER     XXXIII. 

Slaves  dropped  in  slowly  at  Kambia  and  Bangalang,  though  I 
still  had  half  the  cargo  of  the  Feliz  to  make  up.  Time  was 
precious,  and  there  was  no  foreigner  on  the  river  to  aid  me.  In 
this  strait,  I  suddenly  resolved  on  a  foray  among  the  natives  on 
my  own  account ;  and  equipping  a  couple  of  my  largest  canoes 
with  an  ample  armament,  as  well  as  a  substantial  store  of  pro- 
visions and  merchandise,  I  departed  for  the  Matacan  river,  a 
short  stream,  unsuitable  for  vessels  of  considerable  draft.  I  was 
prepared  for  the  purchase  of  fifty  slaves. 

I  reached  my  destination  without  risk  or  adventure,  but  had 
the  opportunity  of  seeing  some  new  phases  of  Africanism  on  my 
arrival.  Most  of  the  coast  negroes  are  wretchedly  degraded  by 
their  superstitions  and  sauvagerie,  and  it  is  best  to  go  among 
them  with  power  to  resist  as  well  as  presents  to  purchase.  Their 
towus  did  not  vary  from  the  river  and  bush  settlements  gen- 
erally. A  house  was  given  me  for  my  companions  and  merchan- 
dise ;  yet  such  was  the  curiosity  to  see  the  "  white  man,"  that 
the  luckless  mansion  swarmed  with  sable  bees  both  inside  and 
out,  till  I  was  obliged  to  send  for  his  majesty  to  relieve  my  suf- 
ferings. 

After  a  proper  delay,  the  king  made  his  appearance  in  all  the 
paraphernalia  of  African  court-dress.     A  few  fathoms  of  check 


228  CAPTAIN    CANOT;    ORj 

girded  his  loins,  while  a  blue  shirt  and  red  waistcoat  were  sur- 
mounted by  a  dragoon's  cap  with  brass  ornaments.  His  coun- 
tenance was  characteristic  of  Ethiopia  and  royalty.  A  narrow 
forehead  retreated  rapidly  till  it  was  lost  in  the  crisp  wool,  while 
his  eyes  were  wide  apart,  and  his  prominent  cheek-bones  formed 
the  base  of  an  inverted  cone,  the  apex  of  which  was  his  braided 
beard,  coiled  up  under  his  chin.  When  earnest  in  talk,  his  ges- 
tures were  mostly  made  with  his  head,  by  straining  his  eyes  to 
the  rim  of  their  sockets,  stretching  his  mouth  from  ear  to  ear, 
grinning  like  a  baboon,  and  throwing  out  his  chin  horizontally 
with  a  sudden  jerk.  Notwithstanding  these  personal  oddities, 
the  sovereign  was  kind,  courteous,  hospitable,  and  disposed  for 
trade.  Accordingly,  I  "  dashed,"  or  presented  him  and  his 
head-men  a  few  pieces  of  cottons,  with  some  pipes,  beads,  and 
looking  glasses,  by  way  of  whet  for  the  appetite  of  to-morrow. 

But  the  division  of  this  gift  was  no  sportive  matter.  "  The 
spoils  "  were  not  regulated  upon  principles  of  superiority,  or  even 
of  equality ;  but  fell  to  the  lot  of  the  stoutest  scramblers.  As 
soon  as  the  goods  were  deposited,  the  various  gangs  seized  my 
snowy  cottons,  dragging  them  right  and  left  to  their  several  huts, 
while  they  shrieked,  yelled,  disputed,  and  fought  in  true  African 
fashion.  Some  lucky  dog  would  now  and  then  leap  between  two 
combatants  who  had  possession  of  the  ends  of  a  piece,  and  whirl- 
ing himself  rapidly  around  the  middle,  slashed  the  sides  with 
his  jack  knife  and  was  off  to  the  bush.  The  pipes,  beads,  and 
looking-glasses,  were  not  bestowed  more  tenderly,  while  the  to- 
bacco was  grabbed  and  appropriated  by  leaves  or  handfals. 

Next  day  we  proceeded  to  formal  business.  His  majesty 
called  a  regular  "  palaver  "  of  his  chiefs  and  headmen,  before 
whom  I  stated  my. dantica  and  announced  the  terms.  Very 
soon  several  young  folks  were  brought  for  sale,  who,  I  am  sure, 
never  dreamed  at  rising  from  last  night's  sleep,  that  they  were 
destined  for  Cuban  slavery  !  My  merchandise  revived  the  me- 
mory of  peccadilloes  that  had  been  long  forgotten,  and  sentences 
that  were  forgiven.  Jealous  husbands,  when  they  tasted  my  rum, 
suddenly  remembered  their  wives'  infidelities,  and  sold  their  bet- 
ter halves  for  more  of  the  oblivious  fluid.     In  truth  I  was  exalt- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  229 

ed  into  a  magician,  unroofing  the  village,  and  baring  its  crime 
^and  wickedness  to  the  eye  oi  justice.  Law  became  profitable, 
and  virtue  had  never  reached  so  high  a  price  !  Before  night  the 
town  was  in  a  turmoil,  for  every  man  cudgelled  his  brain  for  an 
excuse  to  kidnap  his  neighbor,  so  as  to  share  my  commerce.  As 
the  village  was  too  small  to  supply  the  entire  gang  of  fifty,  I  had 
recourse  to  the  neighboring  settlements,  where  my  "  barkers,"  or 
agents,  did  their  work  in  a  masterly  manner.  Traps  were 
adroitly  baited  with  goods  to  lead  the  unwary  into  temptation, 
when  the  unconscious  pilferer  was  caught  by  his  ambushed  foe, 
and  an  hour  served  to  hurry  him  to  the  beach  as  a  slave  for  ever. 
In  fact,  five  days  were  sufficient  to  stamp  my  image  permanently 
on  the  Matacan  settlements,  and  to  associate  my  memory  with 
any  thing  but  blessings  in  at  least  fifty  of  their  families  ! 


I  had  heard,  on  the  Rio  Pongo,  of  a  wonderful  wizard  who 
dwelt  in  this  region,  and  took  advantage  of  the  last  day  of  my  de- 
tention to  inquire  his  whereabouts.  The  impostor  was  renowned 
for  his  wonderful  tricks  of  legerdemain,  as  well  as  for  cures,  ne- 
cromancy, and  fortune-telling.  The  ill  came  to  him  by  scores ; 
credulous  warriors  approached  him  with  valuable  gifts  for  fe- 
tidies  against  musket  balls  and  arrows;  while  the  humbler  class- 
es bought  his  charms  against  snakes,  alligators,  sharks,  evil  spi- 
rits, or  sought  his  protection  for  their  unborn  children. 

My  interpreter  had  already  visited  this  fellow,  and  gave  such 
charming  accounts  of  his  skill,  that  all  my  people  wanted  their 
fates  divined,  for  which  I  was,  of  course,  obliged  to  advance  mer- 
chandise to  purchase  at  least  a  gratified  curiosity.  When  they 
came  back  I  found  every  one  satisfied  with  his  future  lot,  and 
so  happy  was  the  chief  of  my  krooraen  that  he  danced  around 
his  new  fetiche  of  cock's  feathers  and  sticks,  and  snapped  his 
fingers  at  all  the  sharks,  alligators,  and  swordfish  that  swam  in 
the  sea. 

By  degrees  these  reports  tickled  my  own  curiosity  to  such  a 
degree,  that,  incontinently,  I  armed  myself  with  a  quantity  of 
cotton  cloth,  a  brilliant  bandanna,  and  a  lot  of  tobacco,  where- 
with I  resolved  to  attack  the  soothsayer's  den.     My  credulity 


230  CAPTAIN  canot:  or. 


was  not  involved  in  the  expedition,  but  I  was  sincerely  anxious 
to  comprehend  the  ingenuity  or  intelligence  by  which  a  negro 
could  control  the  imagination  of  African  multitudes. 

The  wizard  chose  his  abode  with  skilful  and  romantic  taste. 
Quitting  the  town  by  a  path  which  ascended  abruptly  from  the 
river,  the  traveller  was  forced  to  climb  the  steep  by  a  series  of 
dangerous  zig-zags  among  rocks  and  bushes,  until  he  reached  a 
deep  cave  in  an  elevated  cliff  that  bent  over  the  stream.  As  we 
approached,  my  conductor  warned  the  inmate  of  our  coming  by 
several  whoops.  When  we  reached  the  entrance  I  was  directed 
to  halt  until  the  demon  announced  his  willingness  to  receive  us. 
At  length,  after  as  much  delay  as  is  required  in  the  antechamber 
of  a  secretary  of  state,  a  growl,  like  the  cry  of  a  hungry  crocodile, 
gave  token  of  the  wizard's  coming. 

As  he  emerged  from  the  deep  interior,  I  descried  an  uncom- 
monly tall  figure,  bearing  in  his  arms  a  young  and  living  leopard. 
I  could  not  detect  a  single  lineament  of  his  face  or  figure,  for  he 
was  covered  from  head  to  foot  in  a  complete  dress  of  monkey 
skins,  while  his  face  was  hidden  by  a  grotesque  white  mask. 
Behind  him  groped  a  delicate  blind  boy. 

We  seated  ourselves  on  hides  along  the  floor,  when,  at  my  bid- 
ding, the  interpreter,  unrolling  my  gifts,  announced  that  I  came 
with  full  hands  to  his  wizardship,  for  the  purpose  of  learning  my 
fortune. 

The  impostor  had  trained  his  tame  leopard  to  fetch  and  carry 
like  a  dog,  so  that,  without  a  word,  the  docile  beast  bore  the  va- 
rious presents  to  his  master.  Every  thing  was  duly  measured, 
examined,  or  balanced  in  his  hands  to  ascertain  its  quality  and 
weight.  Then,  placing  a  bamboo  between  his  lips  and  the  blind 
boy's  ear,  he  whispered  the  words  which  the  child  repeated 
aloud.  First  of  all,  he  inquired  what  I  wished  to  know  ?  As 
one  of  his  follower's  boasts  was  the  extraordinary  power  he  pos- 
sessed of  speaking  various  languages,  I  addressed  him  in  Span- 
ish, but  as  his  reply  displayed  an  evident  ignorance  of  what  I 
said,  I  took  the  liberty  to  reprimand  him  sharply  in  his  native 
tongue.  He  waved  me  off  with  an  imperious  flourish  of  his 
hand,  and  ordered  me  to  wait,  as  he  perfectly  comprehended  my 


I 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  231 

Spanish,  but  the  magic  power  would  not   suffer  him  to  answer 
save  in  regular  rotation,  word  by  word. 

I  saw  his  trick  at  once,  which  was  only  one  of  prompt  and 
adroit  repetition.  Accordingly,  I  addressed  him  in  his  native 
dialect,  and  requested  a  translation  of  my  sentence  into  Spanish. 
But  this  was  a  puzzler ;  though  it  required  but  a  moment  for 
him  to  assure  me  that  a  foreign  language  could  only  be  spoken 
by  wizards  of  his  degree  at  the  full  of  the  rtioon  ! 

I  thought  it  time  to  shift  the  scene  to  fortune-telling,  and 
begged  my  demon  to  begin  the  task  by  relating  the  past,  in  order 
to  confirm  my  belief  in  his  mastery  over  the  future.  But  the 
nonsense  he  uttered  was  so  insufferable,  that  I  dropped  the  cur- 
tain with  a  run,  and  commanded  ''  the  hereafter  "  to  appear. 
This,  at  least,  was  more  romantic.  As  usual,  I  was  to  be  im- 
mensely rich.  I  was  to  become  a  great  prince.  I  was  to  have  a 
hundred  wives  ;  but  alas  !  before  six  months  elapsed,  my  factory 
"would  be  burnt  and  I  should  lose  a  vessel ! 

Presently,  the  interpreter  proposed  an  exhibition  of  legerde- 
main, and  in  this  I  found  considerable  amusement  to  make  up 
for  the  preceding  buffoonery.  He  knotted  a  rope,  and  untied  it 
with  a  jerk.  He  sank  a  knife  deep  in  his  throat,  and  poured  in 
a  vessel  of  water.  Other  deceptions  followed  this  skilful  trick, 
but  the  cleverest  of  all  was  the  handling  of  red  hot  iron,  which, 
after  covering  his  hands  with  a  glutinous  paste,  was  touched  in 
the  most  fearless  manner.  I  have  seen  this  trick  performed  by 
other  natives,  and  whenever  ignited  coals  or  ardent  metal  was 
used,  the  hands  of  the  operator  were  copiously  anointed  with  the 
pasty  unguent. 

A  valedictory  growl,  and  a  resumption  of  the  leopard,  gave 
token  of  the  wizard's  departure,  and  closed  the  evening's  enter- 
tainments. 

If  the  ease  with  which  a  man  is  amused,  surprised,  or  de- 
luded, is  a  fair  measure  of  intellectual  grade,  I  fear  that  African 
minds  will  take  a  very  moderate  rank  in  the  scale  of  humanity. 
The  task  of  self-civilization,  which  resembles  the  self-filtering  of 
water,  has  done  but  little  for  Ethiopia  in  the  ages  that  have 
passed  simultaneously  over  her  people  and  the  progressive  races 


232  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

of  other  lands.  It  remains  to  be  seen  what  the  infused  civiliza- 
tion of  Christianity  and  Islamism  will  effect  among  these  benight- 
ed nations.  Jesus,  Mahomet,  and  the  Fetiche,  will,  perhaps, 
long  continue  to  be  their  types  of  distinctive  separation. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  233 


CHAPTER    XXXIV. 

The  Esperanza's  capture  made  it  absolutely  necessary  that  I 
should  visit  Cuba,  so  that,  when  the  Feliz  was  preparing  to  de- 
part, I  began  to  put  my  factory  and  affairs  in  such  order  as  would 
enable  me  to  embark  in  her  and  leave  me  master  of  myself  for  a 
considerable  time.  I  may  as  well  record  the  fact  here  that  the 
unlucky  Esperanza  was  sent  to  Sierra  Leone,  where  she  was,  of 
course,  condemned  as  a  slaver,  while  the  officers  and  crew  were 
despatched  by  order  of  the  Admiralty,  in  irons,  to  Lisbon,  where 
a  tribunal  condemned  them  to  the  galleys  for  five  jears.  I  un- 
derstand they  were  subsequently  released  by  the  clemency  of 
Don  Pedro  de  Braganza  when  he  arrived  from  Brazil. 

Every  thing  was  ready  for  our  departure.  My  rice  was  stored 
and  about  to  be  sent  on  board ;  when,  about  three  o'clock  in  the 
morning  of  the  25th  of  May,  1828,  the  voice  of  my  servant 
roused  me  from  pleasant  dreams,  to  fly  for  life  !  I  sprang  from 
the  cot  with  a  bound  to  the  door,  where  the  flickering  of  a  bright 
flame,  reflected  through  the  thick,  misty  air,  gave  token  of  fire. 
The  roof  of  my  house  was  in  a  blaze,  and  one  hundred  and  fifty 
kegs  of  powder  were  close  at  hand  beneath  a  thatch !  They 
could  not  be  removed,  and  a  single  spark  from  the  frail  and 
tinder-like  materials  might  send  the  whole  in  an  instant  to 
the  skies. 

A  rapid  discharge  from  a  double-barrelled  gun  brought  my 


234  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

people  to  the  spot  with  alacrity,  and  enabled  me  to  rescue  the 
two  hundred  and  twenty  slaves  stowed  in  the  harratoon^  and 
inarch  them  to  a  neighboring  wood,  where  they  would  be  secure  un- 
der a  guard.  In  my  haste  to  rescue  the  slaves  I  forgot  to  warn 
my  body  servant  of  his  peril  from  the  pawder.  The  faithful  boy 
made  several  trips  to  the  dwelling  to  save  my  personal  eflfects, 
and  after  removing  every  thing  he  had  strength  to  carry,  return- 
ed to  unchain  the  bloodhound  that  always  slept  beside  my  couch 
in  Africa.  But  the  dog  was  as  ignorant  of  his  danger  as  the 
youth.  He  knew  no  friend  hut  'inyselj]  and  tearing  the  hand 
that  was  exposed  to  save  him,  he  forced  his  rescuer  to  fly.  And 
well  was  it  he  did  so.  Within  a  minute,  a  tremendous  blast 
shook  the  earth,  and  tlie  'prediction  of  the  Matacan  wizard  was 
accomjolisJied  !  Not  even  the  red  coals  of  my  dwelling  smoul- 
dered on  the  earth.  Every  thing  was  swept  as  by  the  breath 
of  a  whirlwind.  My  terrified  boy,  bleeding  at  nose  and  ears,  was 
rescued  from  the  ruins  of  a  shallow  well  in  which  he  fortunately 
fell.  The  bamboo  sheds,  barracoons,  and  hovels, — the  adobe 
dwelling  and  the  comfortable  garden — could  all  spring  up  again 
in  a  short  time,  as  if  by  enchantment, — but  my  rich  stuffs,  my 
cottons,  my  provisions,  my  arms,  my  ammunition,  my  capital, 
were  dust. 

In  a  few  hours,  friends  crowded  round  me,  according  to  Afri- 
can custom,  with  proffered  services  to  rebuild  my  establishment ; 
but  the  heaviest  loss  I  experienced  was  that  of  the  rice  designed 
for  the  voyage,  which  I  could  not  replace  in  consequence  of  the 
destruction  of  my  merchandise.  In  my  difficulty,  I  was  finally 
obliged  to  swap  some  of  my  two  hundred  and  twenty  negroes  for 
the  desired  commodity,  which  enabled  me  to  despatch  the  Feliz, 
though  I  was,  of  course,  obliged  to  abandon  tiie  voyage  in  her. 

My  mind  was  greatly  exercised  for  some  time  in  endeavors 
to  discover  the  origin  of  this  conflagration.  The  blaze  was  first 
observed  at  the  top  of  one  of  the  gable  ends,  which  satisfied  Ali- 
Ninpha  as  well  as  myself  that  it  was  the  work  of  a  malicious 
ineendiar3^  We  adopted  a  variety  of  methods  to  trace  or  trap 
the  scoundrel,  but  our  efforts  were  fruitless,  until  a  strange  negro 
exhibited  one  of  my  double-barrelled  guns  for  sale  at  a  neighbor- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  235 

ing  village,  -whose  chief  happened  to  recognize  it.  When  the 
seller  was  questioned  about  his  possession  of  the  weapon,  he 
alleged  that  it  was  purchased  from  inland  negroes  in  a  distant 
town.  His  replies  were  so  unsatisfactory  to  the  inquisitive 
chief,  that  he  arrested  the  suspected  felon  and  sent  him  to 
Kambia. 

I  had  but  little  remorse  in  adopting  any  means  in  my  power 
to  extort  a  confession  from  the  negro,  who  very  soon  admitted 
that  my  gun  was  stolen  by  a  runner  from  the  wizard  of  Matacan, 
who  was  still  hanging  about  the  outskirts  of  our  settlement.  I 
offered  a  liberal  reward  and  handsome  bribes  to  get  possession 
of  the  necromancer  himself,  but  such  was  the  superstitious  awe 
surroundii^  his  haunt,  that  no  one  dared  venture  to  seize  him  in 
his  sanctuary,  or  seduce  him  within  reach  of  my  revenge.  This, 
however,  was  not  the  case  in  regard  to  his  emissary.  I  was  soon 
in  possession  of  the  actual  thief,  and  had  little  difficulty  in 
securing  his  execution  on  the  ruins  he  had  made.  Before  we 
launched  him  into  eternity,  I  obtained  his  confession  after  an 
obstinate  resistance,  and  found  with  considerable  pain  that  a 
brother  of  Ormond,  the  suicide,  was  a  principal  mover  in  the 
affair.  The  last  words  of  the  Mongo  had  been  reported  to  this 
fellow  as  an  injunction  of  revenge  against  me,  and  he  very  soon 
learned  from  personal  experience  that  Kambia  was  a  serious 
rival,  if  not  antagonist,  to  Bangalang.  His  African  simplicity 
made  him  believe  that  the  "red  cock"  on  my  roof-tree  would 
expel  me  from  the  river.  I  was  not  in  a  position  to  pay  him 
back  at  the  moment,  yet  I  made  a  vow  to  give  the  new  Mongo  a 
free  passage  in  irons  to  Cuba  before  many  moons.  But  this, 
like  other  rash  promises,  I  never  kept. 

Sad  as  was  the  wreck  of  my  property,  the  conflagration  was 
fraught  with  a  misfortune  that  affected  my  heart  far  more  deeply 
than  the  loss  of  merchandise.  Ever  since  the  day  of  my  landing 
at  Ormond's  factory,  a  gentle  form  had  flitted  like  a  fairy  among 
my  fortunes,  and  always  as  the  minister  of  kindness  and  hope. 
Skilled  in  the  ways  of  her  double  blood,  she  was  my  discreet 
counsellor  in  many  a  peril  ;  and,  tender  as  a  well-bred  dame  of 
civilized  lands,  she  was  ever  disposed  to  promote  my  happiness  by 


236  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

disinterested  offices.  But,  when  we  came  to  number  the  survi- 
vors of  the  ruin,  Esther  was  nowhere  to  be  found,  nor  could  I 
ever  trace,  among  the  scattered  fragments,  the  slightest  relic  of 
the  Pariah's  form ! 


Of  course,  I  had  very  little  beside  my  domestics  to  leave  in 
charge  of  any  one  at  Kambia,  and  intrusting  them  to  the  care 
of  Ali  Ninpha,  I  went  in  my  launch  to  Sierra  Leone,  where  I 
purchased  a  schooner  that  had  been  condemned  by  the  Mixed 
Commission. 

In  1829,  vessels  were  publicly  sold,  and,  with  very  little 
trouble,  equipped  for  the  coast  of  Africa.  The  captures  in  that 
region  were  somewhat  like  playing  a  hand, — taking  the  tricks, 
reshuffling  the  same  cards,  and  dealing  again  to  take  more  tricks! 
Accordingly,  I  fitted  the  schooner  to  receive  a  cargo  of  negroes 
immediately  on  quitting  port.  My  crew  was  made  up  of  men 
from  all  nations,  captured  in  prizes  ;  but  I  guardedly  selected 
my  officers  from  Spaniards  exclusively. 

We  were  slowly  wafting  along  the  sea,  a  day  or  two  out  of 
the  British  colony,  when  the  mate  fell  into  chat  with  a  clever 
lad,  who  was  hanging  lazily  over  the  helm.  They  spoke  of  voy- 
ages and  mishaps,  and  this  led  the  sailor  to  declare  his  recent 
escape  from  a  vessel,  then  in  the  Rio  Nunez,  whose  mate  had 
poisoned  the  commander  to  get  possession  of  the  craft.  She 
had  been  fitted,  he  said,  at  St.  Thomas  with  the  feigned  design 
of  coasting  ;  but,  when  she  sailed  for  Africa,  her  register  was 
sent  back  to  the  island  in  a  boat  to  serve  some  other  vessel,  while 
she  ventured  to  the  continent  without  papers. 

I  have  cause  to  believe  that  the  slave  trade  was  rarely  con- 
ducted upon  the  honorable  principles  between  man  and  man, 
which,  of  course,  are  the  only  security  betwixt  owners,  command- 
ers and  consignees  whose  commerce  is  exclusively  contraband. 
There  were  men,  it  is  true,  engaged  in  it,  with  whom  the  "  point 
of  honor  "  was  more  omnipotent  than  the  dread  of  law  in  regular 
trade.  But  innumerable  cases  have  occurred  in  which  the  spend- 
thrifts who  appropriated  their  owners'  property  on  the  coast  of 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  237 

Africa,  availed  themselves  of  such  superior  force  as  they  hap- 
pened to  control,  in  order  to  escape  detection,  or  assure  a  favor- 
able reception  in  the  West  Indies.  In  fact,  the  slaver  some- 
times ripened  into  something  very  like  a  pirate ! 

In  1828  and  1829,  severe  engagements  took  place  between 
Spanish  slavers  and  this  class  of  contrabandists.  Spaniards 
would  assail  Portuguese  when  the  occasion  was  tempting  and 
propitious.  Many  a  vessel  has  been  fitted  in  Cuba  for  these 
adventures,  and  returned  to  port  with  a  living  cargo,  purchased 
by  cannon-balls  and  boarding-pikes  exclusively. 

Now,  I  confess  that  my  notions  had  become  at  this  epoch 
somewhat  relaxed  by  my  traflSc  on  the  coast,  so  that  I  grew  to  be 
no  better  than  folks  of  my  cloth.  I  was  fond  of  excitement ; 
my  craft  was  sadly  in  want  of  a  cargo  ;  and,  as  the  mate  narrated 
the  helmsman's  story,  the  Quixotic  idea  naturally  got  control  of 
my  brain  that  I  was  destined  to  become  the  avenger  of  the 
poisoned  captain.  I  will  not  say  that  I  was  altogether  stimu- 
lated by  the  noble  spirit  of  justice  ;  for  it  is  quite  possible  I 
would  never  have  thought  of  the  dead  man  had  not  the  sailor 
apprised  us  that  his  vessel  was  half  full  of  negroes  ! 

As  we  drifted  slowly  by  the  mouth  of  my  old  river,  I  slipped 
over  the  bar,  and,  while  I  fitted  the  schooner  with  a  splendid 
nine-pounder  amidships,  I  despatched  a  spy  to  the  Rio  Nunez  to 
report  the  facts  about  the  poisoning,  as  well  as  the  armament  of 
the  unregistered  slaver.  In  ten  days  the  runner  verified  the 
tale.  She  was  still  in  the  stream,  with  one  hundred  and  eighty- 
five  human  beings  in  her  hold,  but  would  soon  be  off  with  an 
entire  cargo  of  two  hundred  and  twenty-five. 

The  time  was  extraordinarily  propitious.  Every  thing  favored 
my  enterprise.  The  number  of  slaves  would  exactly  fit  my 
schooner.  Such  a  windfall  could  not  be  neglected;  and,  on  the 
fourth  day,  I  was  entering  the  Rio  Nunez  under  the  Portuguese 
flag,  which  I  unfurled  by  virtue  of  a  pass  from  Sierra  Leone  to 
the  Cape  de  Verd  Islands. 

I  cannot  tell  whether  my  spy  had  been  faithless,  but  when  I 
reached  Furcaria,  I  perceived  that  my  game  had  taken  wing 
from   her   anchorage.     Here  was   a   sad   disappointment.     The 


238  CAPTAIN  caxot;  or, 

schooner  drew  too  much  water  to  allow  a  further  ascent,  and, 
moreover,  I  was  unacquainted  with  the  river. 

As  it  was  important  that  I  should  keep  aloof  from  strangers, 
I  anchored  in  a  quiet  spot,  and  seizing  the  first  canoe  that  passed, 
learned,  for  a  small  reward,  that  the  object  of  my  search  was 
hidden  in  a  bend  of  the  river  at  the  king's  town  of  Kakundj, 
which  I  could  not  reach  without  the  pilotage  of  a  certain  mulatto, 
who  was  alone  fit  for  the  enterprise. 

I  knew  this  half-breed  as  soon  as  his  person  was  described, 
but  I  had  little  hope  of  securing  his  services,  either  by  fair  means 
or  promised  recompense.  He  owed  me  five  slaves  for  dealings 
that  took  place  between  us  at  Kambia,  and  had  always  refused 
so  strenuously  to  pay,  that  I  felt  sure  he  would  be  off  to  the 
woods  as  soon  as  he  knew  my  presence  on  the  river.  Accord- 
ingly, I  kept  my  canoemen  on  the  schooner  by  an  abundant  sup- 
ply of  "  bitters,"  and  at  midnight  landed  half  a  dozen,  who  pro- 
ceeded to  the  mulatto's  cabin,  where  he  was  seized  sans  cercmo- 
nie.  The  terror  of  this  ruffian  was  indescribable  when  he  found 
himself  in  my  presence, — a  captive,  as  he  supposed,  for  the  debt 
of  flesh.  But  I  soon  relieved  him,  and  offered  a  liberal  reward 
for  his  prompt,  secret  and  safe  pilotage,  to  Kakundy.  The  mu- 
latto was  willing,  but  the  stream  was  too  shallow  for  my  keel. 
He  argued  the  point  so  convincing!}^,  that  in  half  an  hour,  I 
relinquished  the  attempt,  and  resolved  to  make  "  Mahomet  come 
to  the  mountain." 

The  two  boats  were  quickly  manned,  armed,  and  supplied 
with  lanterns  ;  and,  with  muffled  oars,  guided  by  our  pilot, — 
whose  skull  was  kept  constantly  under  the  lee  of  my  pistol, — we 
fell  like  vampyres  on  our  prey  in  the  darkness. 

With  a  wild  hurrah  and  a  blaze  of  our  pistols  in  the  air,  we 
leaped  on  board,  driving  every  soul  under  hatches  without  strik- 
ing a  blow  !  Sentries  were  placed  at  the  cabin  door,  forecastle 
and  hatchway.  The  cable  was  slipped,  my  launch  took  her  in 
tow,  the  pilot  and  myself  took  charge  of  the  helm,  and,  before 
daylight,  the  prize  was  alongside  my  schooner,  transhipping  one 
hundred  and  ninety-seven  of  her  slaves,  with  their  necessary 
supplies. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  239 

Great  was  the  surprise  of  the  captured  crew  when  tbej  saw 
their  fate  ;  and  great  was  the  agony  of  the  poisoner,  when  he 
returned  next  morning  to  the  vacant  anchorage,  after  a  night  of 
debauch  with  the  king  of  Kakundj.  First  of  all,  he  imagined 
we  were  regular  cruisers,  and  that  the  captain's  death  was  about 
to  be  avenged.  But  when  it  was  discovered  that  they  had  fallen 
into  the  grasp  oi  friendly  slavers,  five  of  his  seamen  abandoned 
their  craft  and  shipped  with  me. 

We  had  capital  stomachs  for  breakfast  after  the  night's 
romance.  Hardly  was  it  swallowed,  however,  when  three  canoes 
came  blustering  down  the  stream,  filled  with  negroes  and  headed 
by  his  majesty.  I  did  not  wait  for  a  salutation,  but,  giving  the 
warriors  a  dose  of  bellicose  grape,  tripped  my  anchor,  sheeted 
home  my  sails,  and  was  off"  like  an  albatross  ! 

The  feat  was  cleverly  achieved ;  but,  since  then,  I  have  very 
often  been  taxed  by  my  conscience  with  doubts  as  to  its  strict 
morality  !  The  African  slave  trade  produces  singular  notions  of 
meuni  avd  tuum.  in  the  minds  and  hearts  of  those  who  dwell 
for  any  length  of  time  on  that  blighting  coast ;  and  it  is  not 
unlikely  that  I  was  quite  as  prone  to  the  infection  as  better  men, 
who  perished  under  the  malady,  while  I  escaped  ! 


240  CAPTAIN    CANOT  *,    OR, 


CHAPTER    XXXV. 

It  was  a  sweltering  July,  and  the  ''  rainy  season  "  proved  its 
tremendous  power  by  almost  incessant  deluges.  In  the  breath- 
less calms  that  held  me  spell-bound  on  the  coast,  the  rain  came 
down  in  such  torrents  that  I  often  thought  the  solid  water  would 
bury  and  submerge  our  schooner.  Now  and  then,  a  south-wester 
and  the  current  would  fan  and  drift  us  along ;  yet  the  tenth  day 
found  us  rolling  from  side  to  side  in  the  longitude  of  the  Cape 
de  Verds. 

Day  broke  with  one  of  its  customary  squalls  and  showers. 
As  the  cloud  lifted,  my  look-out  from  the  cross-trees  announced 
a  sail  under  our  lee.  It  was  invisible  from  deck,  in  the  folds  of 
the  retreating  rain,  but,  in  the  dead  calm  that  followed,  the  dis- 
tant whistle  of  a  boatswain  was  distinctly  audible.  Before  I 
could  deliberate,  all  my  doubts  were  solved  by  a  shot  in  our  main- 
sail, and  the  crack  of  a  cannon.  There  could  bo  no  question  that 
the  unwelcome  visitor  was  a  man-of-war. 

It  was  fortunate  that  the  breeze  sprang  up  after  the  lull,  and 
enabled  us  to  carry  every  thing  that  could  be  crowded  on  our 
spars.  We  dashed  away  before  the  freshening  wind,  like  a  deer 
with  the  unleashed  hounds  pursuing.  The  slaves  were  shifted 
from  side  to  side — forward  or  aft — to  aid  our  sailing.  Head- 
stays  were  slackened,  wedges  knocked  off  the  masts,  and  every 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  241 

incumbrance  cast  from  the  decks  into  the  sea.  Now  and  then,  a 
fruitless  shot  from  his  bow-chasers,  reminded  the  fugitive  that 
the  foe  was  still  on  his  scent.  At  last,  the  cruiser  got  the 
range  of  his  guns  so  perfectly,  that  a  well-aimed  ball  ripped 
away  our  rail  and  tore  a  dangerous  splinter  from  the  foremast, 
three  feet  from  deck.  It  was  now  perilous  to  carry  a  press  of 
sail  on  the  same  tack  with  the  weakened  spar,  whereupon  I  put 
the  schooner  about,  and,  to  my  delight,  found  we  ranged  ahead 
a  knot  faster  on  this  course  than  the  former.  The  enemy  "  went 
about "  as  quickly  as  we  did,  but  her  balls  soon  fell  short  of  us, 
and,  before  noon,  we  had  crawled  so  nimbly  to  windward,  that 
her  top-gallants  alone  were  visible  above  the  horizon. 


Our  voyage  was  uncheckered  by  any  occurrence  worthy  of 
recollection,  save  the  accidental  loss  of  the  mate  in  a  dark  and 
stormy  night,  until  we  approached  the  Antilles.  Here,  where 
every  thing  on  a  slaver  assumes  the  guise  of  pleasure  and  relief, 
I  remarked  not  only  the  sullenness  of  my  crew,  but  a  disposition 
to  disobey  or  neglect.  The  second  mate, — shipped  in  the  Rio 
Nunez,  and  who  replaced  my  lost  officer, — was  noticed  occasion- 
ally in  close  intercourse  with  the  watch,  while  his  deportment 
indicated  dissatisfaction,  if  not  mutiny. 

A  slaver's  life  on  shore,  as  well  as  at  sea,  makes  him  wary 
when  another  would  not  be  circumspect,  or  even  apprehensive. 
The  sight  of  land  is  commonly  the  signal  for  merriment,  for  a 
well-behaved  cargo  is  invariably  released  from  shackles,  and 
allowed  free  intercourse  between  the  sexes  during  daytime  on 
deck.  Water  tanks  are  thrown  open  for  unrestricted  use. 
"  The  cat  "  is  cast  into  the  sea.  Strict  discipline  is  relaxed. 
The  day  of  danger  or  revolt  is  considered  over,  and  the  captain 
enjoys  a  new  and  refreshing  life  till  the  hour  of  landing,  jail- 
ors, with  proverbial  generosity,  share  their  biscuits  and  clothing 
with  the  blacks.  The  women,  who  are  generally  without  g^y- 
ments,  appear  in  costume  from  the  wardrobes  of  tars,  p^tty  offi<r 
cers,  mates,  and  even  captains.  Sheets,  tablecloths,  and  spare 
11 


242  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

sails,  are  torn  to  pieces  for  raiment,  while  shoes,  boots,  caps,  oil- 
cloths, and  monkey-jackets,  contribute  to  the  gay  masquerade  of 
the  "  emigrants." 

It  was  my  sincere  hope  that  the  first  glimpse  of  the  Antilles 
would  have  converted  my  schooner  into  a  theatre  for  such  a  dis- 
play ;  but  the  moodiness  of  my  companions  was  so  manifest,  that 
I  thought  it  best  to  meet  rebellion  half  way,  by  breaking  the  sus- 
pected othccr,  and  sending  him  forward,  at  the  same  time  that  I 
threw  his  "dog-house"  overboard.* 

I  was  now  without  a  reliable  officer,  and  was  obliged  to  call 
two  of  the  youngest  sailors  to  my  assistance  in  navigating  the 
schooner.  I  knew  the  cook  and  steward — both  of  whom  messed 
aft — to  be  trustworthy  ;  so  that,  with  four  men  at  my  back,  and 
the  blacks  below,  I  felt  competent  to  control  my  vessel.  From 
that  moment,  I  suffered  no  one  to  approach  the  quarter-deck 
nearer  than  the  mainmast. 

It  was  a  sweet  afternoon  when  we  were  floating  along  the 
shores  of  Porto  Rico,  tracking  our  course  upon  the  chart. 
Suddenly,  one  of  my  new  assistants  approached,  with  the  socia- 
bility common  among  Spaniards,  and,  in  a  quiet  tone,  asked 
whether  I  would  take  a  cigarillo.  As  I  never  smoked.  I  rejected 
the  offer  with  thanks,  when  the  youth  immediately  dropped  the 
twisted  paper  on  my  map.  In  an  instant,  I  perceived  the  ruse^ 
and  discovered  that  the  cigarillo  was,  in  fact,  a  billet  rolled  to 
resemble  one.  I  put  it  in  my  mouth,  and  walked  aft  until  I 
could  throw  myself  on  the  deck,  with  my  head  over  the  stern,  so 
as  to  open  the  paper  unseen.  It  disclosed  the  organization  of  a 
mutiny,  under  the  lead  of  the  broken  mate.  Our  arrival  in  sight 
of  St.  Domingo  was  to  be  the  signal  of  its  rupture,  and  for  my 
immediate  landing  on  the  island.  Six  of  the  crew  were  implicated 
with  the  villain,  and  the  boatswain,  who  was  ill  in  the  slave-hos- 
pital, was  to  share  my  fate. 

My  resolution  was  promptly  made.     In  a  few  minutes,  I  had 


The  forecastle  and  cabin  of  a  slaver  are  given  up  to  the  living 
freight,  while  officers  sleep  on  deck  in  kennels,  technically  known  as  *' dog- 
houses." 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  243 

cast  a  hasty  glance  into  the  arm-chest,  and  seen  that  our  weapons 
were  in  order.  Then,  mustering  ten  of  the  stoutest  and  clever- 
est of  my  negroes  on  the  quarter-deck,  I  took  the  liberty  to 
invent  a  little  strategic  fib,  and  told  them,  in  the  Soosoo  dialect, 
that  there  were  bad  men  on  board,  who  wanted  to  run  the 
schooner  ashore  amono-  rocks  and  drown  the  slaves  while  below. 

o 

At  the  same  time,  I  gave  each  a  cutlass  from  the  arm-chest,  and 
supplying  my  trusty  whites  with  a  couple  of  pistols  and  a  knife 
apiece,  without  saying  a  word,  I  seized  the  ringleader  and  his 
colleagues  !  Irons  and  double-irons  secured  the  party  to  the 
mainmast  or  deck,  while  a  drum-head  court-martial,  composed  of 
the  officers,  and  presided  over  by  myself,  arraigned  and  tried  the 
scoundrels  in  much  less  time  than  regular  boards  ordinarily 
spend  in  such  investigations.  During  the  inquiry,  we  ascertained 
beyond  doubt  that  the  death  of  the  mate  was  due  to  false  play. 
He  had  been  wilfully  murdered,  as  a  preliminary  to  the  assault 
on  me,  for  his  colossal  stature  and  powerful  muscles  would  have 
made  him  a  dangerous  adversary  in  the  seizure  of  the  craft. 

There  was,  perhaps,  a  touch  of  the  old-fashioned  Inquisition 
in  the  mode  of  our  judicial  researches  concerning  this  projected 
mutiny.  We  proceeded  very  much  by  way  of  "  confession," 
and,  whenever  the  culprit  manifested  reluctance  or  hesitation,  his 
memory  was  stimulated  by  a  "  cat."  Accordingly,  at  the  end 
of  the  trial,  the  mutineers  were  already  pretty  well  punished  ;  so 
that  we  sentenced  the  six  accomplices  to  receive  an  additional 
flagellation,  and  continue  ironed  till  we  reached  Cuba.  But  the 
fate  of  the  ringleader  was  not  decided  so  easily.  Some  were  in 
favor  of  dropping  him  overboard,  as  he  had  done  with  the  mate  ; 
others  proposed  to  set  him  adrift  on  a  raft,  ballasted  with  chains ; 
but  I  considered  both  these  punishments  too  cruel,  notwithstand- 
ing his  treachery,  and  kept  his  head  beneath  the  pistol  of  a  sen- 
try till  I  landed  him  in  shackles  on  Turtle  Island,  with  three 
days  food  and  abundance  of  water. 


244  CArxAiN  canot;  or, 


CHAPTER    XXXYI. 

After  all  these  adventures,  I  was  very  near  losing  the  schooner  I 
before  I  got  to  land,  by  one  of  the  perils  of  the  sea,  for  which  I 
blame  myself  that  I  was  not  better  prepared. 

It  was  the  afternoon  of  a  fine  day.     For  some  time,  I  had  | 
noticed  on  the  horizon  a  low  bank  of  white  cloud,  which  rapidly  ' 
spread  itself  over  the  sky  and  water,  surrounding  us  with  an  im- 
penetrable fog.     I    apprehended   danger ;    yet,  before    I    could 
make  the  schooner  snug  to  meet  the  squall,  a  blast — as  sudden 
and  loud  as  a  thunderbolt — prostrated  her  nearly  on  her  beam.  I 
The  shock  was  so  violent  and  unforeseen,  that  the  unrestrained  f 
slaves,  who  were  enjoying  the  fine  weather  on  deck,  rolled  to  lee- 
ward till  they  floundered  in  the  sea  that  inundated  the  scuppers,  j 
There  was  no  power  in  the  tiller  to  "  keep  her  away  "  before  ■ 
the  blast,  for  the  rudder  was  almost  out  of  water  ;  but,  fortu- 
nately, our  mainsail  burst  in  shreds  from  the   bolt-ropes,  and,  j 
relieving  us   from  its  pressure,  allowed  the   schooner   to  right  ' 
under  control  of  the  helm.     The  West  Indian  squall  abandoned 
us  as  rapidly  as   it  assailed,  and   I  was  happy  to  find  that  our 
entire  loss  did  not  exceed  two  slave-children,  who  had  been  care- 
lessly suffered  to  sit  on  the  rail. 


The  reader  knows  that  my  voyage  was  an  impromptu  specu* 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFHICAN    SLAVER.  '.,  ^5 

lation,  without  papers,  manifest,  register,  consignees,  or  destina- 
tion. It  became  necessary,  therefore,  that  I  should  exercise  a 
very  unusual  degree  of  circumspection,  not  only  in  landing  my 
human  cargo,  but  in  selecting  a  spot  from  which  I  might  com- 
municate with  proper  persons.  I  had  never  been  in  Cuba,  save 
on  the  occasion  already  described,  nor  were  my  business  transac- 
tions extended  beyond  the  Regla  association,  by  which  I  was 
originally  sent  to  Africa. 

The  day  after  the  '•  white  squall  "  I  found  our  schooner  drift- 
ing with  a  leading  breeze  along  the  southern  coast  of  Cuba,  and 
as  the  time  seemed  favorable,  I  thought  I  might  as  well  cut  the 
gordian  knot  of  dilemma  by  landing  my  cargo  in  a  secluded  cove 
that  indented  the  beach  about  nine  miles  east  of  Sant'  lago.  If 
I  had  been  consigned  to  the  spot,  I  could  not  have  been  more 
fortunate  in  my  reception.  Some  sixty  yards  from  the  landing 
I  found  the  comfortable  home  of  a  ranchero  who  proffered  the 
hospitality  usual  in  such  cases,  and  devoted  a  spacious  barn  to 
the  reception  of  my  slaves  while  his  family  prepared  an  abundant 
meal. 

As  soon  as  the  cargo  was  safe  from  the  grasp  of  cruisers,  I 
resolved  to  disregard  the  flagless  and  paperless  craft  that  bore  it 
safely  from  Africa,  and  being  unacquainted  in  Sant'  lago,  to 
cross  the  island  towards  the  capital,  in  search  of  a  consignee. 
Accordingly  I  mounted  a  spirited  little  horse,  and  with  a  mon- 
tcro  guide,  turned  my  face  once  more  towards  the  "  ever  faithful 
citj  of  Havana." 

My  companion  had  a  thousand  questions  for  "  the  captain," 
all  of  which  I  answered  with  so  much  bonhommie^  that  we  soon 
became  the  best  friends  imaginable,  and  chatted  over  all  the 
scandal  of  Cuba.  I  learned  from  this  man  that  a  cargo  had  re- 
cently been  "  run  "  in  the  neighborhood  of  Matanzas,  and  that  its 
disposal  was  most  successfully  managed  by  a  Seiior  *  *  *^  from 
Catalonia. 

I  slapped  my  thigh  and  shouted  eureka  I  It  flashed  through 
my  mind  to  trust  this  man  without  further  inquiry,  and  I  confess' 
that  my  decision  was  based  exclusively  upon  his  sectional  na- 
tionality.     I  am  partial  to  the  Catalans. 


246  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OK, 

Accordingly,  I  presented  myself  at  the  counting-room  of  my 
future  consignee  in  due  time,  and  "  made  a  clean  breast "  of  the 
whole  transaction,  disclosing  the  destitute  state  of  my  vessel.  In 
a  very  short  period,  his  Excellency  the  Captain  General  was  made 
aware  of  my  arrival  and  furnished  a  list  of  "  the  Africans," — by 
which  name  the  Bosal  slaves  are  commmonly  known  in  Cuba. 
Nor  was  the  captain  of  the  port  neglected.  A  convenient  blank 
page  of  his  register  was  inscribed  with  the  name  of  my  vessel  as 
having  sailed  from  the  port  six  months  before,  and  this  was  back- 
ed by  a  register  and  muster-roll,  in  order  to  secure  my  un- 
questionable entry  into  a  harbor. 

Before  nightfall  every  thing  was  in  order  with  Spanish  de- 
spatch when  stimulated  either  by  doubloons  or  the  smell  of  Afri- 
can blood  ; — and  twenty-four  hours  afterwards,  I  was  again  at 
the  landing  with  a  suit  of  clothes  and  blanket  for  each  of  my 
"  domestics."  The  schooner  was  immediately  put  in  charge  of  a 
clever  pilot,  who  undertook  the  formal  duty  and  name  of  her 
commander,  in  order  to  elude  the  vigilance  of  all  the  minor  ofii- 
'cials  whose  conscience  had  not  been  lulled  by  the  golden 
anodyne. 

In  the  meanwhile  every  attention  had  been  given  to  the  slaves 
by  my  hospitable  rcmchero.  The  "  head-money  "  once  paid,  no 
body, — civil,  military,  foreign,  or  Spanish — dared  interfere  with 
them.  Forty-eight  hours  of  rest,  ablution,  exercise  and  feeding, 
served  to  recruit  the  gang  and  steady  their  gait.  Nor  had  the 
sailors  in  charge  of  the  party  omitted  the  performance  of  their 
duty  as  "  valets  "  to  the  gentlemen  and  "  ladies'  maids  "  to  the 
females ;  so  that  when  the  march  towards  Sant'  lago  began,  the 
procession  might  have  been  considered  as  "  respectable  as  it  was 
numerous." 

The  brokers  of  the  southern  emporium  made  very  little  delay 
in  finding  purchasers  at  retail  for  the  entire  venture.  The  re- 
turns were,  of  course,  in  cash  ;  and  so  well  did  the  enterprise 
turn  out,  that  I  forgot  the  rebellion  of  our  mutineers,  and  allow- 
ed them  to  share  my  bounty  with  the  rest  of  the  crew.  In  fact, 
BO  pleased  was  I  with  the  result  on  inspecting  the  balance  sheet, 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  247 

that  I  resolved  to  divert  myself  with  the  dolce  far  niente  of  Cu- 
ban country  life  for  a  month  at  least. 

But  while  I  was  making  ready  for  this  delightful  repose,  a 
slight  breeze  passed  over  the  calmness  of  my  mirror.  I  had 
given,  perhaps  imprudently,  but  certainly  with  generous  motives, 
a  double  pay  to  my  men  in  recompense  of  their  perilous  service 
on  the  Rio  Nunez.  With  the  usual  recklessness  of  their  craft, 
they  lounged  about  Havana,  boasting  of  their  success,  while  a 
Frenchman  of  the  party. — who  had  been  swindled  of  his  wages 
at  cards, — appealed  to  his  Consul  for  relief,  l^y  dint  of  cross 
questions  the  Gallic  official  extracted  the  tale  of  our  voyage  from 
his  countryman,  and  took  advantage  of  the  fellow's  destitution  to 
make  him  a  witness  against  a  certain  Don  Teodore  Canot,  who 
ivas  alleged  to  he  a  native  of  France  I  Besides  this,  the  punish- 
ment of  my  mate  was  exaggerated  by  the  recreant  Frenchman 
into  a  most  unjustifiable  as  well  as  cruel  act. 

Of  course  the  story  was  promptly  detailed  to  the  Captain  Ge- 
neral, who  issued  an  order  for  my  arrest.  But  I  was  too  wary 
and  flush  to  be  caught  so  easily  by  the  guardian  of  France's  li- 
lies. No  person  bearing  my  name  could  be  found  in  the  island  ; 
and  as  the  schooner  had  entered  port  with  Spanish  papers,  Span- 
ish crew,  and  was  regularly  sold,  it  became  manifest  to  the  stu- 
pefied Consul  that  the  sailor's  "  yarn  "  was  an  entire  fabrication. 
That  night  a  convenient  press-gang,  in  want  of  recruits  for  the 
royal  marine,  seized  the  braggadocio  crew,  and  as  there  were  no 
witnesses  to  corroborate  the  Consul's  complaint,  it  was  forthwith 
dismissed. 

Things  are  managed  very  cleverly  in  Havana — ivhen  you 
know  how  ! 


248  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 


CHAPTER   XXXVII. 

Before  I  went  to  sea  again,  I  took  a  long  holiday  with  full 
pockets,  among  my  old  friends  at  Regla  and  Havana.  I  thought 
it  possible  that  a  residence  in  Cuba  for  a  season,  aloof  from 
traders  and  their  transactions,  might  wean  me  from  Africa  ;  but 
three  months  had  hardly  elapsed,  before  I  found  myself  sailing 
out  of  the  harbor  of  St.  Jago  de  Cuba  to  take,  in  Jamaica,  a  car- 
go of  merchandise  for  the  coast,  and  then  to  return  and  refit  for 
slaves  in  Cuba. 

My  voyage  began  with  a  gale,  which  for  three  days  swept  us 
along  on  a  tolerably  good  course,  but  on  the  night  of  the  third, 
after  snapping  my  mainmast  on  a  lee  shore,  I  was  forced  to 
beach  the  schooner  in  order  to  save  our  lives  and  cargo  from  de- 
struction. Fortunately,  we  effected  our  landing  with  complete 
success,  and  at  dawn  I  found  my  gallant  little  craft  a  total  wreck 
on  an  uninhabited  key.  A  large  tent  or  pavilion  was  quickly 
built  from  our  sails,  sweeps,  and  remaining  spars,  beneath  which 
every  thing  valuable  and  undamaged  was  stored  before  night- 
fall. Parties  were  sent  forth  to  reconnoitre,  while  our  remaining 
foremast  was  unshipped,  and  planted  on  the  highest  part  of  the 
sandbank  with  a  signal  of  distress.  The  scouts  returned  without 
consolation.  Nothing  had  been  seen  except  a  large  dog,  whose 
neck  was  encircled  with  a  collar ;  but  as  he  could  not  be  made  to 
approach  by  kindness,  I   forbade  his  execution.     Neither  smoke 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVEFw.  249 

nor  tobacco  freed  us  of  the  cloudy  swarms  of  mosquitoes  that  fill- 
ed the  air  after  sunset,  and  so  violent  was  the  irritation  of  their 
innumerable  stings,  that  a  delicate  boy  among  the  crew  became 
utterly  insane,  and  was  not  restored  till  long  after  his  return  to 
Cuba. 

Several  sad  and  weary  days  passed  over  us  on  this  desolate 
key,  where  our  mode  of  life  brought  to  my  recollection  many  a 
similar  hour  spent  by  me  in  company  with  Don  Rafael  and  his 
companions.  Vessel  after  vessel  passed  the  reef,  but  none  took 
notice  of  our  signal.  At  last,  on  the  tenth  day  of  our  imprison- 
ment, a  couple  of  small  schooners  fanned  their  way  in  a  noncha- 
lant manner  towards  our  island,  and  knowing  that  we  were  quite 
at  their  mercy,  refused  our  rescue  unless  we  assented  to  the 
most  extravagant  terms  of  compensation.  After  a  good  deal  of 
chaffering,  it  was  agreed  that  the  salvors  should  land  us  and  our 
effects  at  Nassau,  New  Providence,  where  the  average  should  be 
determined  by  the  lawful  tribunal.  The  voyage  was  soon  accom- 
plished, and  our  amiable  liberators  from  the  mosquitoes  of  our 
island  prison  obtained  a  judicial  award  of  seventy  per  cent,  for 
their  extraordinary  trouble  ! 

The  wreck  and  the  wreckers  made  so  formidable  an  inroad 
upon  my  finances,  that  I  was  very  happy  when  I  reached  Cuba 
once  more,  to  accept  the  berth  of  sailing-master  in  a  slave  brig 
which  was  fitting  out  at  St,  Thomas's,  under  an  experienced 
Frenchman. 

My  new  craft,  the  San  Pablo,  was  a  trim  Brazil-built  brig, 
of  rather  more  than  300  tons.  Her  hold  contained  sixteen 
twenty-four  carronades,  while  her  magazine  was  stocked  with 
abundance  of  ammunition,  and  her  kelson  lined,  fore  and  aft, 
with  round  shot  and  grape.  Captain  *  *  *^  who  had  been  de- 
scribed as  a  Tartar  and  martinet,  received  me  with  much  affa- 
bility, and  seemed  charmed  when  I  told  him  that  I  conversed  flu- 
ently not  only  in  French  but  in  English. 

I  had  hardly  arrived  and  begun  to  take  the  dimensions  of  my 
new  equipage,  when  a  report  ran  through  the  harbor  that  a  Dan- 
ish cruiser  was  about  to  touch  at  the  island.  Of  course,  every 
thing  was  instantly  afloat,  and  in  a  bustle  to  be  off".  Stores  and 
11* 


250  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

provisions  were  tumbled  in  pell-mell,  tanks  were  filled  with  wa- 
ter during  the  night ;  and,  before  dawn,  fifty-five  ragamuffins  of 
all  castes,  colors,  and  countries,  were  shipped  as  crew.  By  "  six 
bells,"  with  a  coasting  flag  at  our  peak,  we  were  two  miles  at  sea 
with  our  main-topsail  aback,  receiving  six  kegs  of  specie  and  se- 
veral chests  of  clothing  from  a  lugger. 

When  we  were  fairly  on  ''  blue  water  "  I  discovered  that  our 
voyage,  though  a  slaver's,  was  not  of  an  ordinary  character.  On 
the  second  day,  the  mariners  were  provided  with  two  setts  of 
uniform,  to  be  worn  on  Sundays  or  when  called  to  quarters. 
Gold-laced  caps,  blue  coats  with  anchor  buttons,  single  epau- 
lettes, and  side  arms  were  distributed  to  the  officers,  while  a  brief 
address  from  the  captain  on  the  quarter-deck,  apprised  all  hands 
that  if  the  enterprise  resulted  well,  a  bounty  of  one  hundred  dol- 
lars would  be  paid  to  each  adventurer. 

That  night  our  skipper  took  me  into  council  and  developed 
his  plan,  which  was  to  load  in  a  port  in  the  Mozambique  chan- 
nel. To  effect  his  purpose  with  more  security,  he  had  provided 
the  brig  with  an  armament  sufficient  to  repel  a  man  of  war  of 
equal  size — (a  fancy  I  never  gave  way  to) — and  on  all  occasions, 
except  in  presence  of  a  French  cruiser,  he  intended  to  hoist  the 
Bourbon  lilies,  wear  the  Bourbon  uniform,  and  conduct  the  ves- 
sel in  every  way  as  if  she  belonged  to  the  royal  navy.  Nor 
were  the  officers  to  be  less  favored  than  the  sailors  in  regard  to 
double  salary,  certificates  of  which  were  handed  to  me  for  my- 
self and  my  two  subordinates.  A  memorandum  book  was  then 
supplied,  containing  minute  instructions  for  each  day  of  the  en- 
suing week,  and  I  was  specially  charged,  as  second  in  command, 
to  be  cautiously  punctual  in  all  my  duties,  and  severely  just  to- 
wards my  inferiors. 

I  took  some  pride  in  acquitting  myself  creditably  in  this  new 
military  phase  of  a  slaver's  life.  Very  few  days  sufficed  to  put 
the  rigging  and  sails  in  perfect  condition ;  to  mount  my  sixteen 
guns  ;  to  drill  the  men  with  small  arms  as  well  as  artillery ;  and 
by  paint  and  sea-craft,  to  disguise  the  Saint  Paul  as  a  very  re- 
spectable cruiser. 

In   twenty-seven  days  we  touched  at  the  Cape  de  Verds  for 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  251 

provisions,  and  shaped  our  way  southward  without  speaking  a 
single  vessel  of  the  multitude  we  met,  until  off  the  Cape  of  Good 
Hope  we  encountered  a  stranger  who  was  evidently  bent  upon 
being  sociable.  Nevertheless,  our  inhospitable  spirit  forced  us  to 
hold  our  course  unswervingly,  till  from  peak  and  main  we  saw 
the  white  flag  and  pennant  of  France  unfurled  to  the  wind. 

Our  drum  immediately  beat  to  quarters,  while  the  flag  chest 
was  brought  on  deck.  Presently,  the  French  transpmt  demand- 
ed our  private  signal ;  which  out  of  our  ample  supply,  was 
promptly  answered,  and  the  royal  ensign  of  Portugal  set  at  our 
peak. 

As  we  approached  the  Frenchman  every  thing  was  made  ready 
for  all  hazards  ; — our  guns  were  double-shotted,  our  matches 
lighted,  our  small  arms  distributed.  The  moment  we  came  with- 
in hail,  our  captain, — who  claimed  precedence  of  the  lieutenant  of 
a  transport, — spoke  the  Fenchman  ;  and,  for  a  while,  carried  on 
quite  an  amiable  chat  in  Portuguese.  At  last  the  stranger  re- 
quested leave  to  send  his  boat  aboard  with  letters  for  the  Isle 
of  France ;  to  which  we  consented  with  the  greatest  pleasure, 
though  our  captain  thought  it  fair  to  inform  him  that  we  dared 
not  prudently  invite  his  officers  on  deck,  inasmuch  as  there  were 
"  several  cases  of  small-pox  among  our  crew,  contracted,  in  all 
likelihood,  at  Angola  !  " 

The  discharge  of  an  unexpected  broadside  could  not  have 
struck  our  visitor  with  more  dismay  or  horror.  The  words  were 
hardly  spoken  when  her  decks  were  in  a  bustle, — her  yards  braced 
sharply  to  the  wind, — and  her  prow  boiling  through  the  sea, 
without  so  much  as  the  compliment  of  a  "  bon  voyage  !  " 

Ten  days  after  this  ruse  (Tcsclave  we  anchored  at  Quillimane, 
among  a  lot  of  Portuguese  and  Brazilian  slavers,  whose  sails  were 
either  clewed  up  or  unbent  as  if  for  a  long  delay.  We  fired  a 
salute  of  twenty  guns  and  ran  up  the  French  flag.  The  salvo  was 
quickly  answered,  while  our  captain,  in  the  full  uniform  of  a 
naval  commander,  paid  his  respects  to  the  Governor.  Meantime 
orders  were  given  me  to  remain  carefully  in  charge  of  the  ship ; 
to  avoid  all  intercourse  with  others ;  to  go  through  the  complete 
routine  and  show  of  a  man  of  war ;  to  strike  the  yards,  haul  down 


252  CAPTAIN    CANOT. 


signal,  and  fire  a  gun  at  sunset ;  but  especially  to  get  underway 
and  meet  the  captain  at  a  small  beach  ofi"  the  port,  the  instant  I 
saw  a  certain  flag  flying  from  the  fort. 

I  have  rarely  seen  matters  conducted  more  skilfully  than  they 
were  by  this  daring  Gaul.  Next  morning  early  the  Governor's 
boat  was  sent  for  the  specie ;  the  fourth  day  disclosed  the  signal 
that  called  us  to  the  beach ;  the  fifth,  sixth,  and  seventh,  sup- 
plied us  with  eight  hundred  negroes  ;  and,  on  the  ninth,  we  were 
underway  for  our  destination. 

The  success  of  this  enterprise  was  more  remarkable  because 
fourteen  vessels,  waiting  cargoes,  were  at  anchor  when  we  arrived, 
some  of  which  had  been  detained  in  port  over  fifteen  months.  To 
such  a  pitch  had  their  impatience  risen,  that  the  masters  made 
common  cause  against  all  new-comers,  and  agreed  that  each  ves- 
sel should  take  its  turn  for  supply  according  to  date  of  arrival. 
But  the  astuteness  of  my  veteran  circumvented  all  these  plans. 
His  anchorage  and  non-intercourse  as  a  French  man-of  war  lull- 
ed every  suspicion  or  intrigue  against  him,  and  he  adroitly  took 
advantage  of  his  kegs  of  specie  to  win  the  heart  of  the  authori- 
ties and  factors  who  supplied  the  slaves. 

But  wit  and  cleverness  are  not  all  in  this  world.  Our 
captain  returned  in  high  spirits  to  his  vessel ;  but  we  hardly 
reached  the  open  sea  before  he  was  prostrated  with  an  ague  which 
refused  to  yield  to  ordinary  remedies,  and  finally  ripened  into 
fever,  that  deprived  him  of  reason.  Other  dangers  thickened 
around  us.  We  had  been  several  days  off  the  Cape  of  Good 
Hope,  buffeting  a  series  of  adverse  gales,  when  word  was  brought 
me  after  a  night  of  weary  watching,  that  several  slaves  were  ill 
of  small-pox.  Of  all  calamities  that  occur  in  the  voyage  of  a 
slaver,  this  is  the  most  dreaded  and  unmanageable.  The  news  ap- 
palled me.  Impetuous  with  anxiety  I  rushed  to  the  captain,  and 
regardless  of  fever  or  insanity,  disclosed  the  dreadful  fact.  He 
stared  at  me  for  a  minute  as  if  in  doubt;  then  opening  his  bureau 
and  pointing  to  a  long  coil  of  combustible  material,  said  that  it 
communicated  through  the  decks  with  the  powder  magazine,  and 
ordered  me  to — "  blow  up  the  brig !  " 

The  master's  madness  sobered  his  mate.     I  lost  no  time  in 


1 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  253 

securing  both  the  dangerous  implement  and  its  perilous  owner, 
while  I  called  the  oflBcers  into  the  cabin  for  inquiry  and  consulta- 
tion as  to  our  desperate  state. 

The  gale  had  lasted  nine  days  without  intermission,  and  dur- 
ing all  this  time  with  so  much  violence  that  it  was  impossible  to 
take  oflf  the  gratings,  release  the  slaves,  purify  the  decks,  or  rig 
the  wind- sails.  When  the  first  lull  occurred,  a  thorough  inspec- 
tion of  the  eight  hundred  was  made,  and  a  death  announced.  As 
life  had  departed  during  the  tempest,  a  careful  inspection  of  the 
body  was  made,  and  it  was  this  that  first  disclosed  the  pestilence 
in  our  midst.  The  corpse  was  silently  thrown  into  the  sea,  and 
the  malady  kept  secret  from  crew  and  negroes. 

When  breakfast  was  over  on  that  fatal  morning,  I  determined 
to  visit  the  slave  deck  raj'self,  and  ordering  an  abundant  supply 
of  lanterns,  descended  to  the  cavern,  which  still  reeked  horri- 
bly with  human  vapor,  even  after  ventilation.  But  here,  alas  ! 
I  found  nine  of  the  negroes  infected  by  the  disease.  W^e  took 
counsel  as  to  the  use  of  laudanum  in  ridding  ourselves  speedily 
of  the  sufferers, — a  remedy  that  is  seldom  and  secretly  used  in 
desperate  cases  to  preserve  the  living  from  contagion.  But  it  was 
quickly  resolved  that  it  had  already  gone  too  far,, when  nine  were 
prostrated,  to  save  the  rest  by  depriving  them  of  life.  Accord- 
ingly, these  wretched  beings  were  at  once  sent  to  the  forecastle 
as  a  hospital,  and  given  in  charge  to  the  vaccinated  or  innocu- 
lated  as  nurses.  The  hold  was  then  ventilated  and  limed ;  yet 
before  the  gale  abated,  our  sick  list  was  increased  to  thirty. 
The  hospital  could  hold  no  more.  Twelve  of  the  sailors  took  the 
infection,  and  fifteen  corpses  had  been  cast  in  the  sea  ! 

All  reserve  was  now  at  an  end.  Body  after  body  fed  the 
deep,  and  still  the  gale  held  on.  At  last,  when  the  wind  and 
waves  had  lulled  so  much  as  to  allow  the  gratings  to  be  removed 
from  our  hatches,  our  consternation  knew  no  bounds  when  we 
found  that  nearly  all  the  slaves  were  dead  or  dying  with  the  dis- 
temper. I  will  not  dwell  on  the  scene  or  our  sensations.  It  is 
a  picture  that  must  gape  with  all  its  horrors  before  the  least 
vivid  imagination.  Yet  there  was  no  time  for  languor  or  senti- 
mental sorrow.     Twelve  of  the  stoutest  survivors  were  ordered 


254  CAPTAIN  canot;  ok.. 

to  drag  out  the  dead  from  among  the  ill,  and  though  they  were 
constantly  drenched  with  rum  to  brutalize  them,  still  we  were 
forced  to  aid  the  gang  by  reckless  volunteers  from  our  crew, 
who,  arming  their  hands  with  tarred  mittens,  flung  the  foetid 
masses  of  putrefaction  into  the  sea  ! 

One  day  was  a  counterpart  of  another ;  and  yet  the  love  of 
life,  or,  perhaps,  the  love  of  gold,  made  us  fight  the  monster  with 
a  courage  that  became  a  better  cause.  At  length  death  was 
satisfied,  but  not  until  the  eight  hundred  beings  we  had  shipped 
in  high  health  had  dwindled  to  four  hundred  and  ninety-sevcA 
skeletons ! 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  255 


CHAPTEK    XXXVIII. 

The  San  Pablo  might  have  been  considered  entitled  to  a  "  clean 
bill  of  health  "  by  the  time  she  reached  the  equator.  The  dead 
left  space,  food,  and  water  for  the  living,  and  very  little  re- 
straint was  imposed  on  the  squalid  remnant.  None  were  shack- 
led after  the  outbreak  of  the  fatal  plague,  so  that  in  a  short 
time  the  survivors  began  to  fatten  for  the  market  to  which  they 
were  hastening.  But  such  was  not  the  fate  of  our  captain.  The 
fever  and  delirium  had  long  left  him,  yet  a  dysenteric  tendency, 
— the  result  of  a  former  malady, — suddenly  supervened,  and  the 
worthy  gentleman  rapidly  declined.  His  nerves  gave  way  so  tho- 
roughly, that  from  fanciful  weakness  he  lapsed  into  helpless  hy- 
pochondria. One  of  his  pet  ideas  was  that  a  copious  dose  of  ca- 
lomel would  ensure  his  restoration  to  perfect  health.  Unfortu- 
nately, however,  during  the  prevalence  of  the  plague,  our  medicine 
chest  had  one  day  been  accidentally  left  exposed,  and  our  mer- 
cury was  abstracted.  Still  there  was  no  use  to  attempt  calming 
him  with  the  assurance  that  his  nostrum  could  not  be  had.  The 
more  we  argued  the  impossibility  of  supplying  him,  the  more  was 
he  urgent  and  imperative  for  the  sanative  mineral. 

In  this  dilemma  I  ordered  a  bright  look-out  to  be  kept  for 
merchantmen  from  whom  I  hoped  to  obtain  the  desirable  drug. 
At  last  a  sail  was  reported  two  points  under  our  lee,  and  as  her 


256  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 


canvas  was  both  patched  and  dark,  I  considered  her  a  harm- 
less Briton  who  might  be  approached  with  impunity. 

It  proved  to  be  a  brig  fr-om  Belfast,  in  Ireland  ;  but  when  I 
overhauled  the  skipper  and  desired  him  to  send  a  boat  on  board, 
he  declined  the  invitation  and  kept  his  course.  A  second  and 
third  command  shared  the  same  fate.  I  was  somewhat  nettled 
by  this  disregard  of  my  flag,  pennant,  and  starboard  epaulette, 
and  ordering  the  brig  to  be  run  alongside,  I  made  her  fast  to  the 
recusant,  and  boarded  with  ten  men. 

Our  reception  was,  of  course,  not  very  amicable,  though  no 
show  of  resistance  was  made  by  officers  or  crew.  I  informed 
the  captain  that  my  object  in  stopping  him  was  entirely  one  of 
mercy,  and  repeated  the  request  I  had  previously  made  through 
the  speaking  trumpet.  Still,  the  stubborn  Scotchman  persisted 
in  denying  the  medicine,  though  I  ofl'ered  him  payment  in  silver 
or  gold.  Thereupon,  I  commanded  the  mate  to  produce  his  log- 
book, and,  under  my  dictation,  to  note  the  visit  of  the  San  Pablo, 
my  request,  and  its  churlish  denial.  This  being  done  to  my  sat- 
isfaction, I  ordered  two  of  my  hands  to  search  for  the  medicine 
chest,  which  turned  out  to  be  a  sorry  receptacle  of  stale  drugs, 
though  fortunately  containing  an  abundance  of  calomel.  I  did 
not  parley  about  appropriating  a  third  of  the  mineral,  for  which 
I  counted  five  silver  dollars  on  the  cabin  table.  But  the  metal 
was  no  sooner  exhibited  than  my  Scotchman  refused  it  with  dis- 
dain. I  handed  it,  however,  to  the  mate,  and  exacted  a  receipt, 
which  was  noted  in  the  log-book. 

As  I  put  my  leg  over  the  taffrail,  I  tried  once  more  to  smooth 
the  bristles  of  the  terrier,  but  a  snarl  and  a  snap  repaid  me  for 
my  good  humor.  Nevertheless,  I  resolved  "  to  heap  coals  of 
fire  on  the  head  "  of  the  ingrate  ;  and,  before  I  cast  off  our  lash- 
ings, threw  on  his  deck  a  dozen  yams,  a  bag  of  frijoles,  a  barrel 
of  pork,  a  couple  of  sacks  of  white  Spanish  biscuits, — and,  with 
a  cheer,  bade  him  adieu. 

But  there  was  no  balm  in  calomel  for  the  captain.  Scotch 
physic  could  not  save  him.  He  declined  day  by  day ;  yet  the 
energy  of  his  hard  nature  kept  him  alive  when  other  men  would 
have  sunk,  and  enabled  him  to  command  even  from  his  sick  bed. 


m-^ 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  257 

It  was  alwaj's  our  Sabbath  service  to  drum  the  men  to  quar- 
ters and  exercise  them  with  cannons  and  small  arms.  One  Sun- 
day, after  the  routine  was  over,  the  dying  man  desired  to  inspect 
his  crew,  and  was  carried  to  the  quarter-deck  on  a  mattress. 
Each  sailor  marched  in  front  of  him  and  was  allowed  to  take  his 
hand  ;  after  which  he  called  them  around  in  a  body,  and  an- 
nounced his  apprehension  that  death  would  claim  him  before  our 
destination  was  reached.  Then,  without  previously  apprising  us 
of  his  design,  he  proceeded  to  make  a  verbal  testament,  and  en- 
joined it  upon  all  as  a  duty  to  his  memory  to  obey  implicitly. 
If  the  San  Pablo  arrived  safely  in  port,  he  desired  that  every 
officer  and  mariner  should  be  paid  the  promised  bounty,  and  that 
the  proceeds  of  cargo  should  be  sent  to  his  family  in  Nantz. 
But,  if  it  happened  that  we  were  attacked  by  a  cruiser,  and  the 
brig  was  saved  by  the  risk  and  valor  of  a  defence, — then,  he 
directed  that  one  half  the  voyage's  avails  should  be  shared 
between  officers  and  crew,  while  one  quarter  was  sent  to  his 
friends  in  France,  and  the  other  given  to  me.  His  sailing-master 
and  Cuban  consignees  were  to  be  the  executors  of  this  salt-water 
document. 

We  were  now  well  advanced  north-westwardly  on  our  voyage, 
and  in  every  cloud  could  see  a  promise  of  the  continuing  trade- 
wind,  which  was  shortly  to  end  a  luckless  voyage.  From  deck 
to  royal, — from  flying-jib  to  ring-tail,  every  stitch  of  canvas  that 
would  draw  was  packed  and  crowded  on  the  brig.  Vessels  were 
daily  seen  in  numbers,  but  none  appeared  suspicious  till  we  got 
far  to  the  westward,  when  my  glass  detected  a  cruising  schooner, 
jogging  along  under  easy  sail.  I  ordered  the  helmsman  to  keep 
his  course ;  and  taughtening  sheets,  braces,  and  halyards,  went 
into  the  cabin  to  receive  the  final  orders  of  our  commander. 

He  received  my  story  with  his  usual  bravery,  nor  was  he 
startled  when  a  boom  from  the  cruiser's  gun  announced  her  in 
chase.  He  pointed  to  one  of  his  drawers  and  told  me  to  take 
out  its  contents.  I  handed  him  three  flags,  which  he  carefully 
unrolled,  and  displayed  the  ensigns  of  Spain,  Denmark,  and 
Portugal,  in  each  of  which  I  found  a  set  of  papers  suitable  for 
the  San   Pablo.     In  a  feeble  voice  he   desired  me  to   select  a' 


258  CAPTAIN    CAXOT  ;    OR, 

nationality  ;  and,  when  I  chose  the  Spanish,  he  grasped  my  hand, 
pointed  to  the  door,  and  bade  me  not  to  surrender. 

When  I  reached  the  deck,  I  found  our  pursuer  gaining  on 
us  with  the  utmost  speed.  She  outsailed  us — two  to  one. 
Escape  was  altogether  out  of  the  question ;  yet  I  resolved  to 
show  the  inquisitive  stranger  our  mettle,  by  keeping  my  course, 
firing  a  gun,  and  hoisting  my  Spanish  signals  at  peak  and  main. 

At  this  time  the  San  Pablo  was  spinning  along  finely  at  the 
rate  of  about  six  knots  an  hour,  when  a  shot  from  the  schooner 
fell  close  to  our  stern.  In  a  moment  I  ordered  in  studding-sails 
alow  and  aloft,  and  as  my  men  had  been  trained  to  their  duty  in 
man-of-war  fashion,  I  hoped  to  impose  on  the  cruiser  by  the  style 
and  perfection  of  the  manoeuvre.  Still,  however,  she  kept  her 
way,  and,  in  four  hours  after  discovery,  was  within  half  gun-shot 
of  the  brig. 

Hitherto  I  had  not  touched  my  armament,  but  I  selected  this 
moment  to  load  under  the  enemy's  eyes,  and,  at  the  word  of  com- 
mand, to  fling  open  the  ports  and  run  out  my  barkers.  The  act 
was  performed  to  a  charm  by  my  well-drilled  gunners  ;  yet  all 
our  belligerent  display  had  not  the  least  effect  on  the  schooner, 
which  still  pursued  us.  At  last,  within  hail,  her  commander 
leaped  on  a  gun,  and  ordered  me  to  "  heave  to,  or  take  a  ball !  " 

Now,  I  was  prepared  for  this  arrogant  command,  and,  for 
half  an  hour,  had  made  up  my  mind  how  to  avoid  an  engagement. 
A  single  discharge  of  my  broadside  might  have  sunk  or  seriously 
damaged  our  antagonist,  but  the  consequences  would  have  been 
terrible  if  he  boarded  me,  which  I  believed  to  be  his  aim. 

Accordingly,  I  paid  no  attention  to  the  threat,  but  taughtened 
my  ropes  and  surged  ahead.  Presently,  my  racing  chaser  came 
up  under  my  lee  within  pistol-shot,  when  a  reiterated  command 
to  heave  to  or  be  fired  on,  was  answered  for  the  first  time  by  a 
faint.  "  no  intiendo^^'' — "  I  don't  understand  you," — while  the 
man-of-war  shot  ahead  of  me. 

Then  I  liad  him  I  Quick  as  thought,  I  gave  the  order  to 
'•  square  away,"  and  putting  the  helm  up,  struck  the  cruiser 
near  the  bow,  carrying  away  her  foremast  and  bowsprit.  Such 
was  the  stranger's  surprise  at  my  daring  trick  that  not  a  musket 


TWENTY    YEAllS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  259 

was  fired  or  boarder  stirred,  till  we  were  clear  of  the  wreck.  It 
was  then  too  late.  The  loss  of  my  jib-boom  and  a  few  rope-yarns 
did  not  prevent  me  from  cracking  on  my  studding-sails,  and 
leaving  the  lubber  to  digest  his  stu])id  forbearance ! 

This  adventure  was  a  fitting  epitaph  for  the  stormy  life  of  our 
poor  commander,  who  died  on  the  following  night,  and  was  buried 
under  a  choice  selection  of  the  flags  he  had  honored  with  his 
various  nationalities.  A  few  days  after  the  blue  water  had  closed 
over  him  for  ever,  our  cargo  was  safely  ensconsed  in  the  hacienda 
nine  miles  east  of  St.  Jago  de  Cuba,  while  the  San  Pablo  was 
sent  adrift  and  burnt  to  the  water's  edge. 


260  CAPTAIN  canot;   or. 


CHAPTER    XXXIX. 

The  beneficent  disposition  of  my  late  commander,  though  not  a 
regular  testament,  was  carried  out  in  Cuba,  and  put  me  in  pos- 
session of  twelve  thousand  dollars  as  my  share  of  the  enterprise. 
Yet  my  restless  spirit  did  not  allow  me  to  remain  idle.  Our 
successful  voyage  had  secured  me  scores  of  friends  among  the 
Spanish  slavers,  and  I  received  daily  applications  for  a  fresh 
command. 

But  the  plans  of  my  French  friend  had  so  bewitched  me  with 
a  desire  for  imitation,  that  I  declined  subordinate  posts  and 
aspired  to  ownership.  Accordingly,  I  proposed  to  the  proprietor 
of  a  large  American  clipper-brig,  that  we  should  fit  her  on  the 
same  system  as  the  San  Pablo  ;  yet,  wishing  to  surpass  my  late 
captain  in  commercial  success,  I  suggested  the  idea  of  fighting 
for  our  cargo,  or,  in  plainer  language,  of  relieving  another  slaver 
of  her  living  freight,  a  project  which  promptly  found  favor  with 
the  owner  of  "  La  Conchita."  The  vessel  in  question  origi- 
nally cost  twelve  thousand  dollars,  and  1  proposed  to  cover  this 
value  by  expending  an  equal  sum  on  her  outfit,  in  order  to  con- 
stitute me  half  owner. 

The  bargain  was  struck,  and  the  armament,  sails,  additional 
spars,  rigging,  and  provisions  went  on  board,  with  prudential 
secrecy.  Inasmuch  as  we  could  not  leave  port  without  some 
show  of  a  cargo,  merchandise  in  bond  was  taken  from  the  public 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  261 

warehouses,  and,  after  being  loaded  in  our  hold  during  day,  was 
smuggled  ashore  again  at  night.  As  the  manoeuvre  was  a  trick 
of  mj'  accomplice,  who  privately  gained  by  the  operation,  I  took 
no  notice  of  what  was  delivered  or  taken  away. 

Finally,  all  was  ready.  Forty-five  men  were  shipped,  and 
the  Conchita  cleared.  Next  day,  at  daybreak,  I  was  to  sail  with 
the  land-breeze. 

A  sailor's  last  night  ashore  is  proverbial,  and  none  of  the 
customary  ceremonies  were  omitted  on  this  occasion.  There  was 
a  parting  supper  with  plenty  of  champagne ;  there  was  a  visit  to 
the  cafe  ;  a  farewell  call  here,  another  there,  and  a  bumper  every 
where.  In  fact,  till  two  in  the  morning,  I  was  busy  with  my 
adieus  ;  but  when  I  got  home  at  last,  with  a  thumping  headache, 
I  was  met  at  the  door  by  a  note  from  my  partner,  stating  that 
our  vessel  was  seized,  and  an  order  issued  for  my  arrest.  He 
counselled  me  to  keep  aloof  from  the  alguaziles,  till  he  could 
arrange  the  matter  with  the  custom-house  and  police. 

I  will  not  enlarge  this  chapter  of  disasters.  Next  day,  my 
accomplice  was  lodged  in  prison  for  his  fraud,  the  vessel  confis- 
cated, her  outfit  sold,  and  my  purse  cropped  to  the  extent  of 
twelve  thousand  dollars.  I  had  barely  time  to  escape  before  the 
officers  were  in  my  lodgings ;  and  I  finally  saved  myself  from  an 
acquaintance  with  the  interior  of  a  Cuban  prison,  by  taking 
another  name,  and  playing  ranchero  among  the  hills  for  several 
weeks. 


My  finances  were  at  low-water  mark,  when  I  strolled  one  fine 
morning  into  Matanzas,  and,  after  some  delay,  again  obtained 
command  of  a  slaver,  through  the  secret  influence  of  my  old  and 
trusty  friends.  The  new  craft  was  a  dashing  schooner,  of  one 
hundred  and  twenty  tons,  fresh  from  the  United  States,  and 
intended  for  Ayudah  on  the  Gold  Coast.  It  was  calculated  that 
we  miglit  bring  home  at  least  four  hundred  and  fifty  slaves,  for 
whose  purchase,  I  was  supplied  plentifully  with  rum,  powder, 
English  muskets,  and  rich  cottons  from  Manchester. 

In   due   time  we   sailed  for   the   Cape  de  Verds,  the  usual 


262  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

"  port  of  despatch "  on  sucli  excursions ;  and  at  Praya,  ex- 
changed our  flag  for  the  Portuguese,  before  we  put  up  our  helm 
for  the  coast.  A  British  cruiser  chased  us  fruitlessly  for  two 
days  off  Sierra  Leone,  and  enabled  me  not  only  to  test  the  sail- 
ing qualities,  but  to  get  the  sailing  trim  of  the  "  Estrella,"  in 
perfection.  So  confident  did  I  become  of  the  speed  and  bottom 
of  my  gallant  clipper,  that  I  ventured,  with  a  leading  wind,  to 
chase  the  first  vessel  I  descried  on  the  horizon,  and  was  alto- 
gether deceived  by  the  tri-color  displayed  at  her  peak.  Indeed, 
I  could  not  divine  this  novel  nationality,  till  the  speaking  trum- 
pet apprised  us  that  the  lilies  of  France  had  taken  triple  hues 
in  the  hands  of  Louis  Philippe !  Accordingly,  before  I  squared 
away  for  Ayudah,  I  saluted  the  royal  repxihlican^  by  lowering 
my  flag  thrice  to  the  new  divinity. 


I  consigned  the  Estrella  to  one  of  the  most  remarkable 
traders  that  ever  expanded  the  African  traffic  by  his  genius. 

Senor  Da  Souza, — better  known  on  the  coast  and  interior 
as  Cha-cha, — was  said  to  be  a  native  mulatto  of  Kio  Janeiro, 
whence  he  emigrated  to  Dahomey,  after  deserting  the  arms  of  his 
imperial  master.  I  do  not  know  how  he  reached  Africa,  but  it  is 
probable  the  fugitive  made  part  of  some  slaver's  crew,  and  fled 
from  his  vessel,  as  he  had  previously  abandoned  the  military  ser- 
vice in  the  delicious  clime  of  Brazil.  His  parents  were  poor, 
indolent,  and  careless,  so  that  Cha-cha  grew  up  an  illiterate, 
headstrong  youth.  Yet,  when  he  touched  the  soil  of  Africa,  a 
new  life  seemed  infused  into  his  veins.  For  a  while,  his  days 
are  said  to  have  been  full  of  misery  and  trouble,  but  the  Brazil- 
lian  slave-trade  happened  to  receive  an  extraordinary  impetus 
about  that  period  ;  and,  gradually,  the  adventurous  refugee  man- 
aged to  profit  by  his  skill  in  dealing  with  the  natives,  or  by  acting 
as  broker  among  his  countrymen.  Beginning  in  the  humblest 
w\ay,he  stuck  to  trade  with  the  utmost  tenacity  till  he  ripened  into 
an  opulent  factor.  The  tinge  of  native  blood  that  dyed  his  com- 
plexion, perhaps  qualified  him  peculiarly  for  this  enterprise.      He 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  263 

loved  the  customs  of  the  people.  He  spoke  their  language  with 
the  fluency  of  a  native.  He  won  the  favor  of  chief  after  chief. 
He  strove  to  be  considered  a  perfect  African  among  Africans  ; 
though,  among  whites,  he  still  afl'ected  the  graceful  address  and 
manners  of  his  country.  In  this  way,  little  by  little.  Cha-cha 
advanced  in  the  regard  of  all  he  dealt  with,  and  secured  the  com- 
missions of  Brazil  and  Cuba,  while  he  was  regarded  and  pro- 
tected as  a  prime  favorite  by  the  warlike  king  of  Dahomey. 
Indeed,  it  is  alleged  that  this  noted  sovereign  formed  a  sort  of 
devilish  compact  with  the  Portuguese  factor,  and  supplied  him 
with  every  thing  he  desired  during  life,  in  consideration  of  inher- 
iting his  wealtli  when  dead. 

But  Cha-cha  was  resolved,  while  the  power  of  enjoyment  was 
still  vouchsafed  him,  that  all  the  pleasures  of  human  life,  acces- 
sible to  money,  should  not  be  wanting  in  Ayudah.  He  built  a 
large  and  commodious  dwelling  for  his  residence  on  a  beautiful 
spot,  near  the  site  of  an  abandoned  Portuguese  fort.  He  filled 
his  establishment  with  every  luxury  and  comfort  that  could  please 
the  fancy,  or  gratify  the  body.  Wines,  food,  delicacies  and  rai- 
ment, were  brought  from  Paris,  London,  and  Havana.  The 
finest  women  along  the  coast  were  lured  to  his  settlement.  Bil- 
liard tablQS  and  gambling  halls  spread  their  wiles,  or  afi'orded  dis- 
traction for  detained  navigators.  In  fine,  the  mongrel  Sybarite 
surrounded  himself  with  all  that  could  corrupt  virtue,  gratify 
passion,  tempt  avarice,  betray  weakness,  satisfy  sensuality,  and 
complete  a  picture  of  incarnate  slavery  in  Dahomey. 

When  he  sallied  forth,  his  walk  was  always  accompanied  by 
considerable  ceremony.  An  ofl&cer  preceded  him  to  clear  the 
path ;  a  fool  or  buffoon  hopped  beside  him ;  a  band  of  native 
musicians  sounded  their  discordant  instruments,  and  a  couple  of 
singers  screamed,  at  the  top  of  their  voices,  the  most  fulsome 
adulation  of  the  mulatto. 

Numbers  of  vessels  were,  of  course,  required  to  feed  this 
African  nabob  with  doubloons  and  merchandise.  Sometimes, 
commanders  from  Cuba  or  Brazil  would  be  kept  months  in  his 
perilous  nest,  while  their  craft  cruised  along  the  coast,  in  expec- 
tation of  human  cargoes.     At  such  seasons,  no  expedient  was  left 


264  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

untried  for  the  entertainment  and  pillage  of  wealthy  or  trusted 
idlers.  If  Cha-cha's  board  and  wines  made  them  drunkards,  it 
was  no  fault  of  his.  If  rouge  et  noir,  or  monte,  won  their 
doubloons  and  freight  at  his  saloon,  he  regretted,  but  dared  not 
interfere  with  the  amusements  of  his  guests.  If  the  sirens  of 
his  harem  betrayed  a  cargo  for  their  favor  over  cards,  a  conve- 
nient fire  destroyed  the  frail  warehouse  after  its  merchandise  was 
secretly  removed ! 

Cha-cha  was  exceedingly  desirous  that  I  should  accept  his 
hospitality.  As  soon  as  I  read  my  invoice  to  him, — for  he  could 
not  do  it  himself, — he  became  almost  irresistible  in  his  cmpresse- 
^nent.  Yet  I  declined  the  invitation  with  firm  politeness,  and 
took  up  my  quarters  on  shore,  at  the  residence  of  a  native  man- 
fuca^  or  broker.  I  was  warned  of  his  allurements  before  I  left 
Matanzas,  and  resolved  to  keep  myself  and  property  so  clear  of 
his  clutches,  that  our  contract  would  either  be  fulfilled  or  remain 
within  my  control.  Thus,  by  avoiding  his  table,  his  "  hells,"  and 
the  society  of  his  dissipated  sons,  I  maintained  my  business  rela- 
tions with  the  slaver,  and  secured  his  personal  respect  so  effect- 
ually, that,  at  the  end  of  two  months,  four  hundred  and  eighty 
prime  negroes  were  in  the  bowels  of  La  Estrella.  ^ 

^  Da  Souza  died  in  May,  1849,  Commander  Foi-bes,  R.  N.,  in  his  book 
on  Dahomey,  says  that  a  boy  and  girl  were  decapitated  and  buried  with 
him,  and  that  three  men  were  sacrificed  on  the  beach  at  Whydah.  He 
alleges  that,  although  this  notorious  slaver  died  in  May,  the  funeral  honors 
to  his  memory  were  not  yet  closed  in  October.  "The  town,"  he  says,  "is 
still  in  a  ferment.  Three  hundred  of  the  Amazons  are  daily  in  the  square, 
firing  and  dancing  ;  bands  of  Fetiche  people  parade  the  streets,  headed  by 
guinea-fowls,  fowls,  ducks,  goats,  pigeons,  and  pigs,  on  poles,  alive,  for  sac- 
rifice. Much  rum  is  distributed,  and  all  night  there  is  shouting,  firing  and 
dancing." — Dahomey  and  the  Dahomans,  vol.  i,  49. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  265 


CHAPTER    XL. 

If  I  had  dreamed  that  these  recollections  of  my  African  career 
would  ever  be  made  public,  it  is  probable  I  should  have  taxed 
my  memory  with  many  events  and  characteristic  anecdotes,  of 
interest  to  those  who  study  the  progress  of  mankind,  and  the 
singular  manifestations  of  human  intellect  in  various  portions  of 
Ethiopia. 

During  my  travels  on  that  continent,  I  always  found  the  negro 
a  believer  in  some  superior  creative  and  controlling  power,  except 
among  the  marshes  at  the  mouth  of  the  Rio  Pongo,  where  the 
Bagers,  as  I  already  stated,  imagine  that  death  is  total  annihila- 
tion. The  Mandingoes  and  Fullahs  have  their  Islamism  and  its 
Koran  ;  the  Soosoo  has  his  good  spirits  and  bad  ;  another  nation 
has  its  "  pray-men  "  and  "  book-men,"  with  their  special  creeds  ; 
another  relies  on  the  omnipotence  oijuju  priests  Siud  fetiche  wor- 
ship ;  ^  some  believe  in  the  immortality  of  spirit ;  while  others 
confide  in  the  absolute  translation  of  body.  The  Mahometan 
tribes  adore  the  Creator^  with  an  infinitude  of  ablutions,  genuflex- 
ions, prayers,  fasts,  and  by  strictly  adhering  to  the  laws  of  the 
Prophet ;  while  the  heathen  nations  resort  to  their  adroit  priests, 
who  shield  them  from  the  devil  by  charms  of  various  degree, 
which  are  exclusively  in  their  gift,  and  may  consec[uently  be  im- 
posed on  the  credulous  for  enormous  prices. 

'  From  the  Portuguese /effipo — witchcraft. 
12 


266  CAPTAIN    CANOT  !    OR, 


At  Ayudah  I  found  the  natives  addicted  to  a  very  grovelling 
species  of  idolatry.  It  was  their  belief  that  the  Good  as  well  as  the 
Evil  spirit  existed  in  living  Iguanas.  In  the  home  of  the  man- 
fuca,  with  whom  I  dwelt,  several  of  these  animals  were  con- 
stantly fed  and  cherished  as  dii  penates,  nor  was  any  one  allowed 
to  interfere  with  their  freedom,  or  to  harm  them  when  they  grew 
insufferably  offensive.  The  death  of  one  of  these  crawling  deities 
is  considered  a  calamity  in  the  household,  and  grief  for  the  rep- 
tile becomes  as  great  as  for  a  departed  parent. 

Whilst  I  tarried  at  Ayudah,  an  invitation  came  from  the 
King  of  Dahomey,  soliciting  the  presence  of  Cha-cha  and  his 
guests  at  the  yearly  sacrifice  of  human  beings,  whose  blood  is 
shed  not  only  to  appease  an  irritated  god  but  to  satiate  the  ap- 
petite of  departed  kings.  I  regret  that  I  did  not  accompany  the 
party  that  was  present  at  this  dreadful  festival.  Cha-cha  des 
patched  several  of  the  captains  who  were  waiting  cargoes,  under 
the  charge  of  his  own  interpreters  and  the  royal  manfucas ;  and 
from  one  of  these  eye-witnesses,  whose  curiosity  was  painfully 
satiated,  I  received  a  faithful  account  of  the  horrid  spectacle. 

For  three  days  our  travellers  passed  through  a  populous  re- 
gion, fed  with  abundant  repasts  prepared  in  the  native  villages 
by  Cha-cha's  cooks,  and  resting  at  night  in  hammocks  suspended 
among  the  trees.  On  the  fourth  day  the  party  reached  the  great 
capital  of  Abomey,  to  which  the  king  had  come  for  the  bloody 
festival  from  his  residence  at  Cannah.  My  friends  were  comfort- 
ably lodged  for  repose,  and  next  morning  presented  to  the  sove- 
reign. He  was  a  well  built  negro,  dressed  in  the  petticoat- 
trowsers  of  a  Turk,  with  yellow  morocco  boots,  while  a  profusion 
of  silk  shawls  encircled  his  shoulders  and  waist,  and  a  lofty  cha- 
peau^  with  trailing  plumes,  surmounted  his  wool.  A  vast  body- 
guard of  female  soldiers  or  amazons,  armed  with  lances  and  mus- 
kets, surrounded  his  majesty.  Presently,  the  manfucas  and  in- 
terpreters, crawling  abjectly  on  their  hands  and  knees  to  the 
royal  feet,  deposited  Cha-cha's  tribute  and  the  white  men's  offer- 
ing. The  first  consisted  of  several  pieces  of  crape,  silks,  and  taf- 
feta, with  a  large  pitcher  and  basin  of  silver ;  while  the  latter 
was  a  trifling  gift  of  twenty  muskets  and  one  hundred  pieces  of 


^ 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  267 

blue  dungeree.  The  present  was  gracefully  accepted,  and  the  do- 
nors welcomed  to  the  sacrifice,  which  was  delayed  on  account  of 
the  scarcity  of  victims,  though  orders  had  been  given  to  storm  a 
neighboring  tribe  to  make  up  three  hundred  slaves  for  the  fes- 
tival. In  the  mean  while,  a  spacious  house,  furnished  in  Euro- 
pean style,  and  altogether  better  than  the  ordinary  dwellings  of 
Africa,  was  assigned  to  the  strangers.  Liberty  was  also  given 
them  to  enter  wherever  they  pleased,  and  take  what  they  wished, 
inasmuch  as  all  his  subjects,  male  and  female,  were  slaves  whom 
he  placed  at  the  white  men's  disposal. 

The  sixth  of  May  was  announced  as  the  beginning  of  the  sa- 
crificial rites,  which  were  to  last  five  days.  Early  in  the  morn- 
ing, two  hundred  females  of  the  amazonian  guard,  naked  to  the 
waist,  but  richly  ornamented  with  beads  and  rings  at  every 
joint  of  their  oiled  and  glistening  limbs,  appeared  in  the  area 
before  the  king's  palace,  armed  with  blunt  cutlasses.  Very 
soon  the  sovereign  made  his  appearance,  when  the  band  of  war- 
riors began  their  manoeuvres,  keeping  pace,  with  rude  but  not  un- 
martial  skill,  to  the  native  drum  and  flute. 

A  short  distance  from  the  palace,  within  sight  of  the  square, 
a  fort  or  inclosure,  about  nine  feet  high,  had  been  built  of  adohi^ 
and  surrounded  by  a  pile  of  tall,  prickly  briers.  Within  this 
barrier,  secured  to  stakes,  stood  fifty  captives  who  were  to  be 
immolated  at  the  opening  of  the  festival.  When  the  drill  of  the 
amazons  and  the  royal  review  were  over,  there  was,  for  a  consi- 
derable time,  perfect  silence  in  the  ranks  and  throughout  the  vast 
multitude  of  spectators.  Presently,  at  a  signal  from  the  king, 
one  hundred  of  the  women  departed  at  a  run,  brandishing  their 
weapons  and  yelling  their  war-cry,  till,  heedless  of  the  thorny 
barricade,  they  leaped  the  walls,  lacerating  their  flesh  in  crossing 
the  prickly  impediment.  .The  delay  was  short.  Fifty  of  these 
female  demons,  with  torn  limbs  and  bleeding  faces,  quickly  return- 
ed, and  ofi"ered  their  howling  victims  to  the  king.  It  was  now 
the  duty  of  this  personage  to  begin  the  sacrifice  with  his  royal 
hand.  Calling  the  female  whose  impetuous  daring  had  led  her 
foremost  across  the  thorns,  he  took  a  glittering  sword  from  her 
grasp,  and  in  an  instant  the  head  of  the  first  victim  fell  to   the 


268  CAPTAIN    CANOT  I    OR, 


dust.  The  weapon  was  then  returned  to  the  woman,  who,  hang- 
ing it  to  the  white  men,  desired  them  to  unite  in  the  brutal  deed  ! 
The  strangers,  however,  not  only  refused,  but,  sick  at  heart, 
abandoned  the  scene  of  butchery,  which  lasted,  they  understood, 
till  noon,  when  the  amazons  were  dismissed  to  their  barracks, 
reeking  with  rum  and  blood. 

I  have  limited  the  details  of  this  barbarity  to  the  initial  cru- 
elties, leaving  the  reader's  imagination  to  fancy  the  atrocities 
that  followed  the  second  blow.  It  has  always  been  noticed  that 
the  sight  of  blood,  which  appals  a  civilized  man,  serves  to  excite 
and  enrage  the  savage,  till  his  frantic  passions  induce  him  to 
mutilate  his  victims,  even  as  a  tiger  becomes  furious  after  it  has 
torn  the  first  wound  in  its  prey.  For  five  days  the  strangers 
were  doomed  to  hear  the  yells  of  the  storming  amazons  as  they 
assailed  the  fort  for  fresh  victims.  On  the  sixth  the  sacrifice  was 
over : — the  divinity  was  appeased,  and  quiet  reigned  again  in  the 
streets  of  Abomey. 

Our  travellers  were  naturally  anxious  to  quit  a  court  where 
such  abominations  were  regarded  as  national  and  religious  du- 
ties ;  but  before  they  departed,  his  majesty  proposed  to  accord 
them  a  parting  interview.  He  received  the  strangers  with  cere- 
monious politeness,  and  called  their  attention  to  the  throne  or 
royal  seat  upon  which  he  had  coiled  his  limbs.  The  chair  is  said 
to  have  been  an  heir-loom  of  at  least  twenty  generations.  Ea^h 
leg  of  the  article  rests  on  the  skull  of  some  native  king  or  chief, 
and  such  is  the  fanatical  respect  for  the  brutal  usages  of  an- 
tiquity, that  every  three  years  the  people  of  Dahomey  are 
obliged  to  renew  the  steadiness  of  the  stool  by  the  fresh  skulls 
of  some  noted  princes  ! 


I 


I  was  not  long  enough  at  Ayudah  to  observe  the  manners  and 
customs  of  the  natives  with  much  care,  still,  as  well  as  I  now  re- 
member, there  was  great  similarity  to  the  habits  of  other  tribes. 
The  male  lords  it  over  the  weaker  sex,  and  as  a  man  is  valued 
according  to  the  quantity  of  his  wives ;  polygamy,  even  among 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  269 

civilized  residents,  is  carried  to  a  greater  excess  than  elsewhere. 
Female  chastity  is  not  insisted  on  as  in  the  Mandingo  and  Soosoo 
districts,  but  the  husband  contents  himself  with  the  seeming  con- 
tinence of  his  mistresses.  Sixty  or  seventy  miles  south  of  Ayu- 
dah,  the  adulterous  wife  of  a  chief  is  stabbed  in  the  presence  of 
her  relations.  Here,  also,  superstition  has  set  up  the  altar  of 
human  sacrifice,  but  the  divinity  considers  the  offering  of  a  sin- 
gle virgin  sufficient  for  all  its  requirements. 

Some  years  after  my  visit  to  Ayudah,  it  happened  that  my 
traffic  called  me  to  Lagos  at  the  season  of  this  annual  festival,  so 
that  I  became  an  unwilling  witness  of  the  horrid  scene. 

When  the  slender  crescent  of  the  November  moon  is  first  ob- 
served, an  edict  goes  forth  from  the  king  that  his  Juju-tnan^  or 
high-priest,  will  go  his  annual  round  through  the  town,  and  dur- 
ing his  progress  it  is  strictly  forbidden  for  any  of  his  subjects  to 
remain  out  of  doors  after  sunset.  Such  is  the  terror  with  which 
the  priests  affect  to  regard  the  sacred  demon,  that  even  the  fires 
are  extinguished  in  their  houses. 

Towards  midnight  the  Juju-man  issued  from  a  sacred  gree- 
gree  bush  or  grove,  the  entrance  to  which  is  inhibited  to  all  ne- 
groes who  do  not  belong  to  the  religious  brotherhood.  The  costume 
of  the  impostor  is  calculated  to  inspire  his  countrymen  with  fear. 
He  was  clad  in  a  garment  that  descended  from  his  waist  to  his 
heels  like  a  petticoat  or  skirt,  made  of  long  black  fur ;  a  cape  of 
the  same  material  was  clasped  round  his  neck  and  covered  his 
elbows  ;  a  gigantic  hood  which  bristled  with  all  the  ferocity  of  a 
grenadier's  cap,  covered  his  head  ;  his  hands  were  disguised  in 
tiger's  paws,  while  a  frightful  mask,  with  sharp  nose,  thin  lips, 
and  white  color,  concealed  his  face.  He  was  accompanied  by  ten 
stout  barbarians,  dressed  and  masked  like  himself,  each  sounding 
some  discordant  instrument.  Every  door,  by  law,  is  required  to 
be  left  ajar  for  the  free  access  of  the  Jvju^  but  as  soon  as  the 
horrid  noise  is  heard  approaching  from  the  tabooed  grove^  each 
inhabitant  falls  to  the  ground,  with  eyes  in  the  dust,  to  avoid  even 
a  look  from  the  irritated  spirit. 

A  victim  is  always  agreed  upon  by  the  priests  and  the  author- 
ities before  they  leave  the  grcegree  husli^  yet  to  instil  a  greater 


270  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

degree  of  superstitious  terror,  the  frightful  Juju,  as  if  in  doubt, 
promenades  the  town  till  daylight,  entering  a  house  now  and 
then,  and  sometimes  committing  a  murder  or  two  to  augment  the 
panic.  At  dawn  the  home  of  the  victim, — who,  of  course,  is  al- 
ways the  handsomest  virgin  in  the  settlement, — is  reached,  and 
the  Juju  immediately  seizes  and  carries  her  to  a  place  of  conceal- 
ment. Under  pain  of  death  her  parents  and  friends  are  denied 
the  privilege  of  uttering  a  complaint,  or  even  of  lifting  their 
heads  from  the  dust.  Next  day  the  unfortunate  mother  must 
seem  ignorant  of  her  daughter's  doom,  or  profess  herself  proud 
of  the  Juju's  choice.  Two  days  pass  without  notice  of  the  vic- 
tim. On  the  third,  at  the  river  side,  the  king  meets  his  fanatical 
subjects,  clad  in  their  choicest  raiment,  and  wearing  their  sweet- 
est smiles.  A  band  of  music  salutes  the  sovereign,  and  suddenly 
the  poor  victim,  no  longer  a  virgin  and  perfectly  denuded^  is 
brought  forward  by  a  wizard,  who  is  to  act  the  part  of  execution- 
er. The  living  sacrifice  moves  slowly  with  measured  steps,  but 
is  no  more  to  be  recognized  even  by  her  nearest  relatives,  for 
face,  body,  and  limbs,  are  covered  thickly  with  chalk.  As  soon 
as  she  halts  before  the  king,  her  hands  and  feet  are  bound  to  a 
bench  near  the  trunk  of  a  tree.  The  executioner  then  takes  his 
stand,  and  with  uplifted  eyes  and  arms,  seems  to  invoke  a  bless- 
ing on  the  people,  while  with  a  single  blow  of  his  blade,  her  head 
is  rolled  into  the  river.  The  bleeding  trunk,  laid  carefully  on  a 
mat,  is  placed  beneath  a  large  tree  to  remain  till  a  spirit  shall 
bear  it  to  the  land  of  rest,  and  at  night  it  is  secretly  removed  by 
the  priesthood. 

It  is  gratifying  to  know  that  these  Jujus^  who  in  Africa  as- 
sume the  prerogatives  of  divinity,  are  only  the  principals  of  a 
religious  fraternity  who  from  time  immemorial  have  constituted  a 
secret  society  in  this  part  of  Ethiopia,  for  the  purpose  of  sustain- 
ing their  kings  and  ruling  the  people  through  their  superstition. 
By  fear  and  fanaticism  these  brutal  priests  exact  confessions 
from  ignorant  negroes,  which,  in  due  time,  are  announced  to  the 
public  as  divinations  of  the  oracle.  The  members  of  the  society 
are  the  depositories  of  many  secrets,  tricks,  and  medical  prepara- 


TWENTY   YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  271 

tions,  by  which  they  are  enabled  to  paralyze  the  body  as  well  as 
affect  the  mind  of  their  victim.  The  king  and  his  chiefs  are  gen- 
erally supreme  in  this  brotherhood  of  heathen  superstition,  and 
the  purity  of  the  sacrificed  virgin,  in  the  ceremony  just  described, 
was  unquestionably  yielded  to  her  brutal  prince. 


272  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 


\ 


CHAPTER    XLI. 

I  HAVE  always  regretted  that  I  left  Ayudah  on  my  homeward 
voyage  without  interpreters  to  aid  in  the  necessary  intercourse 
with  our  slaves.  There  was  no  one  on  board  who  understood  a 
word  of  their  dialect.  Many  complaints  from  the  negroes  that 
would  have  been  dismissed  or  satisfactorily  adjusted,  had  we 
comprehended  their  vivacious  tongues  and  grievances,  were  pass- 
ed over  in  silence  or  hushed  with  the  lash.  Indeed,  the  whip 
alone  was  the  emblem  of  La  Estrella's  discipline  ;  and  in  the  end 
it  taught  me  the  saddest  of  lessons. 

From  the  beginning  there  was  manifest  discontent  among  the 
slaves.  I  endeavored  at  first  to  please  and  accommodate  them 
by  a  gracious  manner ;  but  manner  alone  is  not  appreciated  by 
untamed  Africans.  A  few  days  after  our  departure,  a  slave  leap- 
ed overboard  in  a  fit  of  passion,  and  another  choked  himself  dur- 
ing the  night.  These  two  suicides,  in  twenty-four  hours,  caused 
much  uneasiness  among  the  ofl&cers,  and  induced  me  to  make 
every  preparation  for  a  revolt. 

We  had  been  at  sea  about  three  weeks  without  further  dis- 
turbance, and  there  was  so  much  merriment  among  the  gangs 
that  were  allowed  to  come  on  deck,  that  my  apprehensions  of 
danger  began  gradually  to  wear  away.  Suddenly,  however,  one 
fair  afternoon,  a  squall  broke  forth  from  an  almost  cloudless  sky ; 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  273 

and  as  the  boatswain's  whistle  piped  all  hands  to  take  in  sail,  a 
simultaneous  rush  was  made  by  the  confined  slaves  at  all  the 
after-gratings,  and  amid  the  confusion  of  the  rising  gale,  they 
knocked  down  the  guard  and  poured  upon  deck.  The  sentry 
at  i}\e  fore-hatch  seized  the  cook's  axe,  and  sweeping  it  round 
him  like  a  scythe,  kept  at  bay  the  band  that  sought  to  emerge 
from  below  him.  Meantime,  the  women  in  the  cabin  were  not 
idle.  Seconding  the  males,  they  rose  in  a  body,  and  the  helms- 
man was  forced  to  stab  several  with  his  knife  before  he  could 
drive  them  below  again. 

About  forty  stalwart  devils,  yelling  and  grinning  with  all  the 
savage  ferocity  of  their  wilderness,  were  now  on  deck,  armed 
with  staves  of  broken  water-casks,  or  billets  of  wood,  found  in 
the  hold.  The  suddenness  of  this  outbreak  did  not  appal  me, 
for,  in  the  dangerous  life  of  Africa,  a  trader  must  be  always 
admonished  and  never  off  his  guard.  The  blow  that  prostrated 
the  first  white  man  was  the  earliest  symptom  I  detected  of  the 
revolt ;  but,  in  an  instant,  I  had  the  arm-chest  open  on  the  quar- 
ter-deck, and  the  mate  and  steward  beside  me  to  protect  it. 
Matters,  however,  did  not  stand  so  well  forward  of  the  main- 
mast. Four  of  the  hands  were  disabled  by  clubs,  while  the  rest 
defended  themselves  and  the  wounded  as  well  as  they  could  with 
handspikes,  or  whatever  could  suddenly  be  clutched.  I  had 
always  charged  the  cook,  on  such  an  emergency,  to  distribute 
from  his  coppers  a  liberal  supply  of  scalding  water  upon  the 
belligerents  ;  and,  at  the  first  sign  of  revolt,  he  endeavored  to 
baptize  the  heathen  with  his  steaming  slush.  But  dinner  had 
been  over  for  some  time,  so  that  the  lukewarm  liquid  only  irri- 
tated the  savages,  one  of  whom  laid  the  unfortunate  "  doctor  " 
bleeding  in  the  scuppers. 

All  this  occurred  in  perhaps  less  time  than  I  have  taken  to 
tell  it ;  yet,  rapid  as  was  the  transaction,  I  saw  that,  between 
the  squall  with  its  flying  sails,  and  the  revolt  with  its  raving 
blacks,  we  would  soon  be  in  a  desperate  plight,  unless  I  gave  the 
order  to  shoot.  Accordingly,  I  told  my  comrades  to  aim  low  and 
fire  at  once. 

Our  carabines  had  been  purposely  loaded  with  buck-shot,  to 
12* 


274 


CAPTAIN    CANOT  I    OR, 


suit  such  an  occasion,  so  that  the  first  two  discharges  brought 
several  of  the  rebels  to  their  knees.  Still,  the  unharmed  neither 
fled  nor  ceased  brandishing  their  weapons.  Two  more  discharges 
drove  them  forward  amongst  the  mass  of  my  crew,  who  had 
retreated  towards  the  bowsprit ;  but,  being  reinforced  by  the 
boatswain  and  carpenter,  we  took  command  of  the  hatches  so 
eflfectually,  that  a  dozen  additional  discharges  among  the  ebony 
legs,  drove  the  refractory  to  their  quarters  below. 

It  was  time ;  for  sails,  ropes,  tacks,  sheets,  and  blocks,  were 
flapping,  dashing,  and  rolling  about  the  masts  and  decks,  threat- 
ening us  with  imminent  danger  from  the  squalL  In  a  short  time, 
every  thing  was  made  snug,  the  vessel  put  on  our  course,  and  at- 
tention paid  to  the  mutineers,  who  had  begun  to  fight  among 
themselves  in  the  hold ! 

I  perceived  at  once,  by  the  infuriate  sounds  proceeding  from 
below,  that  it  would  not  answer  to  venture  in  their  midst  by 
descending  through  the  hatches.  Accordingly,  we  discharged 
the  women  from  their  quarters  under  a  guard  on  deck,  and  sent 
several  resolute  and  well-armed  hands  to  remove  a  couple  of 
boards  from  the  bulk-head,  that  separated  the  cabin  from  the 
hold.  When  this  was  accomplished,  a  party  entered,  on  hands 
and  knees,  through  the  aperture,  and  began  to  press  the  muti- 
neers forward  towards  the  bulk-head  of  the  forecastle.  Still, 
the  rebels  were  hot  for  fight  to  the  last,  and  boldly  defended 
themselves  with  their  staves  against  our  weapons. 

By  this  time,  our  lamed  cook  had  rekindled  his  fires,  and  the 
water  was  once  more  boiling.  The  hatches  were  kept  open  but 
guarded,  and  all  who  did  not  fight  were  suffered  to  come  singly 
on  deck,  where  they  were  tied.  As  only  about  sixty  remained 
below  engaged  in  conflict,  or  defying  my  party  of  sappers  and 
miners,  I  ordered  a  number  of  auger-holes  to  be  bored  in  the 
deck,  as  the  scoundrels  were  forced  forward  near  the  forecastle, 
when  a  few  buckets  of  boiling  water,  rained  on  them  through  the 
fresh  apertures,  brought  the  majority  to  submission.  Still,  how- 
ever, two  of  the  most  savage  held  out  against  water  as  well  as 
fire.  I  strove  as  long  as  possible  to  save  their  lives,  but  their 
resistance  was  so  prolonged  and  perilous,  that  we  were  obliged 
to  disarm  them /or  ever  by  a  couple  of  pistol  shots. 


I 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  275 

So  ended  the  sad  revolt  of  "  La  Estrella,"  in  which  two  of 
my  men  were  seriously  wounded,  while  twenty-eight  balls  and 
buckshot  were  extracted,  with  sailors'  skill,  from  the  lower  limbs 
of  the  slaves.  One  woman  and  three  men  perished  of  blows 
received  in  the  conflict ;  but  none  were  deliberately  slain  except 
the  two  men,  who  resisted  unto  death. 

I  could  never  account  for  this  mutiny,  especially  as  the  blacks 
from  Ayudah  and  its  neighborhood  are  distinguished  for  their 
humble  manners  and  docility.  There  can  be  no  doubt  that  the 
entire  gang  was  not  united  or  concerned  in  the  original  out- 
break, else  we  should  have  had  harder  work  in  subduing  them, 
amid  the  risk  and  turmoil  of  a  West  Indian  squall. 


276  CAPTAIN    CANOT  )    OR, 


CHAPTER    XLII. 

There  was  very  little  comfort  on  board  La  Estrella,  after  the 
suppression  of  this  revolt.  We  lived  with  a  pent-up  volcano 
beneath  us,  and,  day  and  night,  we  were  ceaselessly  vigilant. 
Terror  reigned  supreme,  and  the  lash  was  its  sceptre. 

At  last,  we  made  land  at  Porto  Rico,  and  were  swiftly  pass- 
ing its  beautiful  shores,  when  the  inspector  called  my  attention 
to  the  appearance  of  one  of  our  attendant  slaves,  whom  we  had 
drilled  as  a  sort  of  cabin-boy.  He  was  a  gentle,  intelligent 
child,  and  had  won  the  hearts  of  all  the  officers. 

His  pulse  was  high,  quick  and  hard ;  his  face  and  eyes  red 
and  swollen ;  while,  on  his  neck,  I  detected  half  a  dozen  rosy 
pimples.  He  was  sent  immediately  to  the  forecastle,  free  from 
contact  with  any  one  else,  and  left  there,  cut  off  from  the  crew, 
till  I  could  guard  against  pestilence.     It  was  small-pox  ! 

The  boy  passed  a  wretched  night  of  fever  and  pain,  develop- 
ing the  malady  with  all  its  horrors.  It  is  very  likely  that  I 
slept  as  badly  as  the  sufferer,  for  my  mind  was  busy  with  his 
doom.  Daylight  found  me  on  deck  in  consultation  with  our 
veteran  boatswain,  whose  experience  in  the  trade  authorized  the 
highest  respect  for  his  opinion.  Hardened  as  he  was,  the  old 
man's  eyes  filled,  his  lips  trembled,  and  his  voice  was  husky,  as 
ho  whispered  the  verdict  in  my  ear.     I  guessed  it  before  he  said 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  277 

a  word ;  yet  I  hoped  he  would  have  counselled  against  the  dread 
alternative.  As  we  went  aft  to  the  quarter-deck,  all  eyes  were 
bent  upon  us,  for  every  one  conjectured  the  malady  and  feared 
the  result,  yet  none  dared  ask  a  question. 

I  ordered  a  general  inspection  of  the  slaves,  yet  when  a 
favorable  report  was  made,  I  did  not  rest  content,  and  descended 
to  examine  each  one  personally.  It  was  true ;  the  child  was 
alone  infected ! 

For  half  an  hour,  I  trod  the  deck  to  and  fro  restlessly,  and 
caused  the  crew  to  subject  themselves  to  inspection.  But  my 
sailors  were  as  healthy  as  the  slaves.  There  was  no  symptom 
that  indicated  approaching  danger.  I  was  disappointed  again. 
A  single  case — a  single  sign  of  peril  in  any  quarter,  would  have 
spared  the  poison ! 

That  evening,  in  the  stillness  of  night,  a  trembling  hand  stole 
forward  to  the  afflicted  boy  with  a  potion  that  knows  no  waking. 
In  a  few  hours,  all  was  over.  Life  and  the  pestilence  were 
crushed  together ;  for  a  necessary  murder  had  been  committed, 
and  the  poor  victim  was  beneath  the  blue  water  ! 


I  am  not  superstitious,  but  a  voyage  attended  with  such 
calamities  could  not  end  happily.  Incessant  gales  and  head 
winds,  unusual  in  this  season  and  latitude,  beset  us  so  obsti- 
nately, that  it  became  doubtful  whether  our  food  and  water 
would  last  till  we  reached  Matanzas.  To  add  to  our  risks  and 
misfortunes,  a  British  corvette  espied  our  craft,  and  gave  chase 
off  Cape  Maize.  All  day  long  she  dogged  us  slowly,  but,  at 
night,  I  tacked  off  shore,  with  the  expectation  of  eluding  my 
pursuer.  Day  dawn,  however,  revealed  her  again  on  our  track, 
though  this  time  we  had  unfortunately  fallen  to  leeward.  Ac- 
cordingly, I  put  La  Estrella  directly  before  the  wind,  and  ran 
till  dark,  with  a  fresh  breeze,  when  I  again  dodged  the  cruiser, 
and  made  for  the  Cuban  coast.  But  the  Briton  seemed  to  scent 
my  track,  for  sunrise  revealed  him  once  more  in  chase. 

The  wind  lulled   that  night  to  a  light  breeze,  yet  the  red 


278  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 


1 


clouds  and  haze  in  the  east  betokened  a  gale  from  that  quarter 
before  meridian.  A  longer  pursuit  must  have  given  considerable 
advantage  to  the  enemy,  so  that  my  best  reliance,  I  calculated, 
was  in  making  the  small  harbor  near  St.  Jago,  now  about  twenty 
miles  distant,  where  I  had  already  landed  two  cargoes.  The 
corvette  was  then  full  ten  miles  astern. 

My  resolution  to  save  the  cargo  and  lose  the  vessel  was 
promptly  made ; — orders  were  issued  to  strike  from  the  slaves 
the  irons  they  had  constantly  worn  since  the  mutiny  ;  the  boats 
were  made  ready ;  and  every  man  prepared  his  bag  for  a  rapid 
launch. 

On  dashed  the  cruiser,  foaming  at  the  bows,  under  the  im- 
petus of  the  rising  gale,  which  struck  him  some  time  before  it 
reached  us.  We  were  not  more  than  seven  miles  apart  when  the 
first  increased  pressure  on  our  sails  was  felt,  and  every  thing 
was  set  and  braced  to  give  it  the  earliest  welcome.  Then  came 
the  tug  and  race  for  the  beach,  three  miles  ahead.  But,  under 
such  circumstances,  it  was  hardly  to  be  expected  that  St.  George 
could  carry  the  day.  Still,  every  nerve  was  strained  to  eflfect 
the  purpose.  Regardless  of  the  gale,  reef  after  reef  was  let  out 
while  force  pumps  moistened  his  sails  ;  yet  nothing  was  gained. 
Three  miles  against  seven  were  too  much  odds ; — and,  with  a 
slight  move  of  the  helm,  and  "  letting  all  fly,"  as  we  neared  the 
line  of  surf,  to  break  her  headway,  La  Estrella  was  fairly  and 
safely  beached. 

The  sudden  shock  snapped  her  mainmast  like  a  pipe-stem, 
but,  as  no  one  was  injured,  in  a  twinkling  the  boats  were  over- 
board, crammed  with  women  and  children,  while  a  stage  was 
rigged  from  the  bows  to  the  strand,  so  that  the  males,  the  crew 
and  the  luggage  were  soon  in  charge  of  my  old  haciendado. 

Prompt  as  we  were,  we  were  not  sufficiently  so  for  the  cruiser. 
Half  our  cargo  was  ashore  when  she  backed  her  top-sails  off  the 
mouth  of  the  little  bay,  lowered  her  boats,  filled  them  with 
boarders,  and  steered  towards  our  craft.  The  delay  of  half  a 
mile's  row  gave  us  time  to  cling  still  longer  to  the  wreck,  so 
that,  when  the  boats  and  corvette  began  to  fire,  we  wished  them 
joy  of  their  bargain  over  the  remnant  of  our  least  valuable  ne- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  279 

groes.  The  rescued  blacks  are  now,  in  all  likelihood,  citizens  of 
Jamaica  ;  but,  under  the  influence  of  the  gale,  La  Estrella  made 
a  very  picturesque  bonfire,  as  we  saw  it  that  night  from  the 
azoUa  of  our  landlord's  domicile. 


280  CAPTAIN  canot:  or. 


CHAPTER    XLIII. 

Disastrous  as  was  this  enterprise,  both  on  the  sea  and  in  the 
counting-house,  a  couple  of  months  found  me  on  board  a  splendid 
clipper, — born  of  the  famous  waters  of  the  Chesapeake, — delighting 
in  the  name  of  "  Aguila  de  Oro,"  or  "  Golden  Eagle,"  and  spin- 
ning out  of  the  Cape  de  Verds  on  a  race  with  a  famous  West  In- 
dian privateer. 

The  "  Montesquieu  "  was  the  pride  of  Jamaica  for  pluck  and 
sailing,  when  folks  of  her  character  were  not  so  unpopular  as  of 
late  among  the  British  Islands ;  and  many  a  banter  passed  be- 
tween her  commander  and  myself,  while  I  was  unsuccessfully 
waiting  till  the  governor  resolved  his  conscientious  difficulties 
about  the  exchange  ofjlags.  At  last  I  offered  a  bet  of  five  hun- 
dred dollars  against  an  equal  sum  ;  and  next  day  a  bag  with  the 
tempting  thousand  was  tied  to  the  end  of  my  mainboom^  with  an 
invitation  for  the  boaster  to  "  follow  and  take."  It  was  under- 
stood that,  once  clear  of  the  harbor,  the  "  Aguila  "  should  have 
five  minutes'  start  of  the  Montesquieu,  after  which  we  were  to 
crowd  sail  and  begin  the  race. 

The  contest  was  quickly  noised  throughout  the  port,  and  the 
captains  smacked  their  lips  over  the  dejeuner  promised  by  the 
boaster  out  of  the  five  hundred  dollars  won  from  the  "  Yankee 
nutshell."     Accordingly,  when  all  was  ready  and  the  breeze  fa- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  281 

vored,  the  eastern  cliffs  of  the  Isle  were  crowded  with  spectators 
to  witness  the  regatta. 

As  we  were  first  at  sea  and  clear  of  the  harbor,  we  delayed 
for  our  antagonist ;  and  without  claiming  the  conceded  start  of 
five  minutes,  did  not  shoot  ahead  till  our  rival  was  within  musket 
shot.  But  then  the  tug  began  with  a  will ;  and  as  the  Aguila 
led,  I  selected  her  most  favorable  trim  and  kept  her  two  points 
free.  The  Montesquieu  did  the  same,  but  confident  of  her  speed, 
did  not  spread  all  her  canvas  that  would  draw.  The  error,  how- 
ever, was  soon  seen.  Our  Chesapeake  clipper  crawled  off  as  if 
her  opponent  was  at  anchor  ;  and  in  a  jiffy  every  thing  that  could 
be  carried  was  sheeted  home  and  braced  to  a  hair.  The  breeze 
was  steady  and  strong.  Soon  the  island  was  cleared  entirely  ; 
and  by  keeping  away  another  point,  I  got  out  of  the  Aguila  her 
utmost  capacity  as  a  racer.  As  she  led  off,  the  Montesepicu  fol- 
lowed,— but  glass  by  glass,  and  hour  by  hour,  the  distance  be- 
tween us  increased,  till  at  sunset  the  boaster's  hull  was  below  the 
horizon,  and  my  bag  taken  in  as  a  lawful  prize. 

I  did  not  return  to  Praya  after  this  adventure,  but  keeping 
on  towards  the  coast,  in  four  days  entered  the  Rio  Salum,  an  in- 
dependent river  between  the  French  island  of  Goree  and  the 
British  possessions  on  the  Gambia.  No  slaver  had  haunted  this 
stream  for  many  a  year,  so  that  I  was  obliged  to  steer  my  mos- 
quito pilot-boat  full  forty  miles  in  the  interior,  through  man- 
groves and  forests,  till  I  struck  the  trading  ground  of  "  the 
king." 

After  three  days'  parley  I  had  just  concluded  my  bargain  with 
his  breechless  majesty,  when  a  '•  barker  "  greeted  me  with  the 
cheerless  message  that  the  "  Aguila  "  was  surrounded  by  man-of- 
war  boats  !  It  was  true ;  but  the  mate  refused  an  inspection  of 
his  craft  07i  neutral  ground^  and  the  naval  folks  departed.  Never- 
theless, a  week  after,  when  I  had  just  completed  my  traffic,  I  was 
seized  by  a  gang  of  the  treacherous  king's  own  people ;  delivered 
to  the  second  lieutenant  of  a  French  corvette — "  La  Bayon- 
naise ;  " — and  my  lovely  little  Eagle  caged  as  her  lawful  prey  ! 

I  confess  I  have  never  been  able  to  understand  the  legal  mer- 
its of  this  seizure,  so  far  as  the  act  of  the  French  officers  was 


282  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

concerned,  as  no  treaty  existed  between  France  and  Spain  for 
tbe  suppression  of  slavery.  The  reader  will  not  be  surprised  to 
learn,  therefore,  that  there  was  a  very  loud  explosion  of  wrath 
among  my  men  when  they  found  themselves  prisoners ;  nor  was 
their  fury  diminished  when  our  whole  band  was  forced  into  a 
dungeon  at  Goree,  which,  for  size,  gloom,  and  closeness,  vied  with 
the  celebrated  black  hole  of  Calcutta. 

For  three  days  were  we  kept  in  this  filthy  receptacle,  in  a 
burning  climate,  without  communication  with  friends  or  inhabit- 
ants, and  on  scanty  fare,  till  it  suited  the  local  authorities  to 
transfer  us  to  San  Luis,  on  the  Senegal,  in  charge  of  a  file  of 
marines,  oh  board  our  own  vessel ! 

San  Luis  is  the  residence  of  the  governor  and  the  seat  of 
the  colonial  tribunal,  and  here  again  we  were  incarcerated  in  a 
military  cachot,  till  several  merchants  who  knew  me  on  the  Rio 
Pongo,  interfered,  and  had  us  removed  to  better  quarters  in  the 
military  hospital.  I  soon  learned  that  there  was  trouble  among 
the  natives.  A  war  had  broken  out  among  some  of  the  Moorish 
tribes,  some  two  hundred  miles  up  the  Senegal,  and  my  Aguila 
was  a  godsend  to  the  Frenchmen,  who  needed  just  such  a  light 
craft  to  guard  their  returning  flotilla  with  merchandise  from  Ga- 
tarn.  Accordingly,  the  craft  was  armed,  manned,  and  despatch- 
ed on  this  expedition  without  waiting  the  decree  of  a  court  as  to 
the  lawfulness  of  her  seizure  ! 

Meanwhile,  the  sisters  of  charity — those  angels  of  devoted 
mercy,  who  do  not  shun  even  the  heats  and  pestilence  of  Africa, 
— made  our  prison  life  as  comfortable  as  possible ;  and  had  we 
not  seen  gratings  at  the  windows,  or  met  a  sentinel  when  we  at- 
tempted to  go  out,  we  might  have  considered  ourselves  valetudi- 
narians instead  of  convicts. 

A  month  oozed  slowly  away  in  these  headquarters  of  sufi'ering, 
before  a  military  sergeant  apprised  us  that  he  had  been  elevated 
to  the  dignity  of  the  long-robe,  and  appointed  our  counsel  in  the 
approaching  trial.  No  other  lawyer  was  to  be  had  in  the  colony 
for  love  or  money,  and,  perhaps,  our  military  man  might  have 
acquitted  himself  as  well  as  the  best,  had  not  his  superiors  often 
imposed  silence  on  him  during  the  argument. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  283 

By  this  time  the  nimble  Aguila  had  made  two  most  service- 
able trips  under  the  French  officers,  and  proved  so  valuable  to  the 
Gallic  government  that  no  one  dreamed  of  recovering  her.  The 
colonial  authorities  had  two  alternatives  under  the  circumstances, 
— either  to  pay  for  or  condemn  her, — and  as  they  knew  I  would 
not  be  willing  to  take  the  craft  again  after  the  destruction  of  my 
voyage,  the  formality  of  a  trial  was  determined  to  legalize  the 
condemnation.  It  was  necessary,  however,  even  in  Africa,  to 
show  that  I  had  violated  the  territory  of  the  French  colony  by 
trading  in  slaves,  and  that  the  Aguila  had  been  caught  in 
the  act. 

I  will  not  attempt  a  description  of  the  court  scene,  in  which 
my  military  friend  was  browbeaten  by  the  prosecutor,  the  prose- 
cutor by  the  judge,  and  the  judge  by  myself  After  various  out- 
rages and  absurdities,  a  Mahometan  slave  was  allowed  to  be 
sworn  as  a  witness  against  me  ;  whereupon  I  burst  forth  with  a 
torrent  of  argument,  defence,  abuse,  and  scorn,  till  a  couple  of 
soldiers  were  called  to  keep  my  limbs  and  tongue  in  forensic 
order. 

But  the  deed  was  done.  The  foregone  conclusion  was  for- 
mally announced.  The  Aguila  de  Oro  became  King  Louis  Phi- 
lippe's property,  while  my  men  were  condemned  to  two,  my 
officers  to  five,  and  Don  Teodor  himself,  to  ten  years'  confinement 
in  the  central  prisons  of  la  belle  France ! 

Such  was  the  style  of  colonial  justice  in  the  reign  of  le  roi 
bourgeois  I 

My  sentence  aroused  the  indignation  of  many  respectable  mer- 
chants at  San  Luis ;  and,  of  course,  I  did  not  lack  kindly  visits 
in  the  stronghold  to  which  I  was  reconducted.  It  was  found  to 
be  entirely  useless  to  attack  the  sympathy  of  the  tribunal,  either 
to  procure  a  rehearing  of  the  cause  or  mitigation  of  the  judg- 
ment. Presently,  a  generous  friend  introduced  a  saw  suitable  to 
discuss  the  toughness  of  iron  bars,  and  hinted  that  on  the  night 
when  my  window  gratings  were  severed,  a  boat  might  be  found 
waiting  to  transport  me  to  the  opposite  shore  of  the  river,  whence 
an  independent  chief  would  convey  me  on  camels  to  Gambia. 

I  know  not  how  it  was  that  the  government  got  wind  of  my 


284  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

projected  fliglit,  but  it  certainly  did,  and  we  were  sent  on  board 
a  station  ship  lying  in  the  stream.  Still  my  friends  did  not 
abandon  me.  I  was  apprised  that  a  party, — bound  on  a  shooting 
frolic  down  the  river  on  the  first  foggy  morning, — would  visit 
the  commander  of  the  hulk, — a  noted  hon-vivant^ — and  while  the 
vessel  was  surrounded  by  a  crowd  of  boats,  I  might  slip  over- 
board amid  the  confusion.  Under  cover  of  the  dense  mist  that 
shrouds  the  surface  of  an  African  river  at  dawn,  I  could  easily 
elude  even  a  ball  if  sent  after  me,  and  when  I  reached  the  shore, 
a  canoe  would  be  ready  to  convey  me  to  a  friendly  ship. 

The  scheme  was  peculiarly  feasible,  as  the  captain  happened 
to  be  a  good  fellow,  and  allowed  me  unlimited  liberty  about  his 
vessel.  Accordingly,  when  the  note  had  been  duly  digested,  I 
called  ray  officers  apart,  and  proposed  their  participation  in  my 
escape.  The  project  was  fully  discussed  by  the  fellows  ;  but  the 
risk  of  swimming,  even  in  a  fog,  under  the  muzzles  of  muskets, 
was  a  danger  they  feared  encountering.  I  perceived  at  once  that 
it  would  be  best  to  free  myself  entirely  from  the  encumbrance  of 
such  chicken-hearted  lubbers,  so  I  bade  them  take  their  own 
course,  but  divided  three  thousand  francs  in  government  bills 
among  the  gang,  and  presented  my  gold  pocket  chronometer  to 
the  mate. 

Next  morning  an  impervious  fog  laid  low  on  the  bosom  of  the 
Senegal,  but  through  its  heavy  folds  I  detected  the  measured 
beat  of  approaching  oars,  till  five  boats,  with  a  sudden  rush, 
dashed  alongside  us  with  their  noisy  and  clamorous  crews. 

Just  at  this  very  moment  a  friendly  hand  passed  through 
my  arm,  and  a  gentle  tone  invited  me  to  a  quarter-deck  prome« 
nade.     It  was  our  captain  ! 

There  was,  of  course,  no  possibility  of  declining  the  profi'ered 
civility,  for  during  the  whole  of  my  detention  on  board,  the  com- 
mander had  treated  me  with  the  most  assiduous  politeness. 

"  Mon  cJier  Canot^''  said  he,  as  soon  as  we  got  aft, — "you 
seem  to  take  considerable  interest  in  these  visitors  of  ours,  and  I 
wish  from  the  bottom  of  my  heart  that  you  could  join  the  sport ; 
hut^  unfortunately  for  you^  these  gentlemen  vnll  not  effect  their 
purpose ! " 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  '285 

As  I  did  not  entirely  compreliend, — though  I  rather  guessed, 
— his  precise  meaning,  I  made  an  evasive  answer  ;  and,  arm  in 
arm  I  was  led  from  the  deck  to  the  cabin.  When  we  were  per- 
fectly alone,  he  pointed  to  a  seat,  and  frankly  declared  that  I 
had  been  betrayed  by  a  Judas  to  his  sergeant  of  marines  !  I  was 
taken  perfectly  aback,  as  I  imagined  myself  almost  free,  yet  the 
loss  of  liberty  did  not  paralyze  me  as  much  as  the  perfidy  of  my 
men.  Like  a  stupid  booby,  I  stood  gazing  with  a  fixed  stare  at 
the  captain,  when  the  cabin  door  burst  open,  and  with  a  shout 
of  joyous  merriment  the  hunters  rushed  in  to  greet  their 
comrade. 

My  dress  that  morning  was  a  very  elaborate  7ieglige.  I  had 
purposely  omitted  coat,  braces,  stockings  and  shoes,  so  that  my 
privateer  costume  of  trowsers  and  shirt  was  not  calculated  for 
the  reception  of  strangers.  It  was  natural,  therefore,  that  the 
first  sally  of  my  friendly  liberators  should  be  directed  against  my 
toilette ;  I  parried  it,  however,  as  adroitly  as  my  temper  would 
allow,  by  reproaching  them  with  their  "unseasonable  visit, 
before  I  could  complete  the  bath  which  they  saw  I  was  prepared 
for  !  " 

The  hint  was  understood ;  but  the  captain  thought  proper  to 
tell  the  entire  tale.  No  man,  he  said,  would  have  been  happier 
than  he,  had  I  escaped  before  the  treachery.  My  friends  were 
entreated  not  to  risk  further  attempts,  which  might  subject  me 
to  severe  restraints ;  and  my  base  comrades  were  forthwith  sum- 
moned to  the  cabin,  where,  in  presence  of  the  merchants,  they 
were  forced  to  disgorge  the  three  thousand  francs  and  the  chro- 
nometer. 

'•  But  this,"  said  Captain  Z ,  "  is  not  to  be  the  end  of 

the  comedy, — en  avant^  messieurs  I "  as  he  led  the  way  to  the 
mess-room,  where  a  sumptuous  dejeuner  was  spread  for  officers 
and  huntsmen,  and  over  its  fragrant  fumes  my  disappointment 
was,  for  a  while,  forgotten. 


286  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 


CHAPTER    XLIV. 

For  fifteen  days  more  the  angry  captive  bit  his  thumbs  on 
the  tafi"rail  of  the  guard-ship,  and  gazed  either  at  vacancy  or 
the  waters  of  the  SenegaL  At  the  end  of  that  period,  a 
gunboat  transferred  our  convict  party  to  the  frigate  Flora, 
whose  first  lieutenant,  to  whom  I  had  been  privately  recom- 
mended, separated  me  immediately  from  my  men.  The  scoun- 
drels were  kept  close  prisoners  during  the  whole  voyage  to 
France,  while  my  lot  was  made  as  light  as  possible,  under  the 
severe  sentence  awarded  at  San  Luis. 

The  passage  was  short.  At  Brest,  they  landed  me  privately, 
while  my  men  and  officers  were  paraded  through  the  streets  at 
mid-day,  under  a  file  oi  gens  (Tarmes.  I  am  especially  grateful 
to  the  commander  of  this  frigate,  who  alleviated  my  sufferings 
by  his  generous  demeanor  in  every  respect,  and  whose  repre- 
sentations to  the  government  of  France  caused  my  sentence  to 
be  subsequently  modified  to  simple  imprisonment. 

I  have  so  many  pleasant  recollections  of  this  voyage  as  a 
convict  in  the  Flora,  that  I  am  loth  to  recount  the  following 
anecdote  ;  yet  I  hardly  think  it  ought  to  be  omitted,  for  it  is 
characteristic  in  a  double  aspect.  It  exhibits  at  once  the  chival- 
ric  courtesy  and  the  coarse  boorishness  of  some  classes  in  the 
naval  service  of  France,  at  the  period  I  am  describing. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  2S7 

On  board  our  frigate  there  were  two  Sisters  of  Charity,  who 
were  returning  to  their  parent  convent  in  France,  after  five  years 
of  colonial  self-sacrifice  in  the  pestilential  marshes  of  Africa. 
These  noble  women  lodged  in  a  large  state-room,  built  expressly 
for  their  use  and  comfort  on  the  lower  battery-deck,  and,  accord- 
ing to  the  ship's  rule,  were  entitled  to  mess  with  the  lieutenants 
in  their  wardroom.  It  so  happened,  that  among  the  ofl&cers,  there 
was  one  of  those  vulgar  dolts,  whose  happiness  consists  in  making 
others  as  uncomfortable  as  possible,  both  by  bullying  manners 
and  lewd  conversation.  He  seemed  to  delight  in  losing  no  op- 
portunity to  offend  the  ladies  while  at  table,  by  ridiculing  their 
calling  and  piety  ;  yet,  not  content  with  these  insults,  which  the 
nuns  received  with  silent  contempt,  he  grew  so  bold  on  one  occa- 
sion, in  the  midst  of  dinner,  as  to  burst  forth  with  a  song  so 
gross,  that  it  would  have  disgraced  the  orgies  of  a  cabaret.  The 
Sisters  instantly  arose,  and,  next  morning,  refused  their  meals 
in  the  wardroom,  soliciting  the  steward  to  supply  them  a  sailor's 
ration  in  their  cabin,  where  they  might  be  free  from  dishonor. 

But  the  charitable  women  were  soon  missed  from  mess,  and 
when  the  steward's  report  brought  the  dangerous  idea  of  a  court- 
martial  before  the  terrified  imagination  of  the  vulgarians,  a 
prompt  resolve  was  made  to  implore  pardon  for  the  indecent  offi- 
cer, before  the  frigate's  captain  could  learn  the  outrage.  It  is 
needless  to  add  that  the  surgeon — who  was  appointed  ambassa- 
dor— easily  obtained  the  mercy  of  these  charitable  women,  and 
that,  henceforth,  our  lieutenants'  wardroom  was  a  model  of  social 
propriety. 


The  Prison  of  Brest. 

I  was  not  very  curious  in  studying  the  architecture  of  the 
strong  stone  lock-up,  to  which  they  conducted  me  in  the  stern 
and  ugly  old  rendezvous  of  Brest.  I  was  sick  as  soon  as  I 
beheld  it  from  our  deck.  The  entrance  to  the  harbor,  through 
the  long,  narrow,  rocky  strait,  defended  towards  the  sea  by  a 


288  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 


I 


frowning  castle,  and  strongly  fortified  towards  the  land,  looker 
to  me  like  passing  through  the  throat  of  a  monster,  who  was 
swallow  me  for  ever.  But  I  had  little  time  for  observation  or  I 
reflection  on  external  objects, — my  business  was  with  interiors 
and  when  the  polite  midshipman  with  whom  I  landed  bade  fare- 
well, it  was  only  to  transfer  me  to  the  concierge  of  a  prison 
within  the  royal  arsenal.  Here  I  was  soon  joined  by  the  crew 
and  officers.  For  a  while,  I  rejected  their  penitence ;  but  a  man 
who  is  suddenly  swept  from  the  wild  liberty  of  Africa,  and 
doomed  for  ten  years  to  penitential  seclusion,  becomes  wonder- 
fully forgiving  when  loneliness  eats  into  his  heart,  and  eternal 
silence  makes  the  sound  of  his  own  voice  almost  insupportable. 
One  by  one,  therefore,  was  restored  at  least  to  sociability ;  so 
that,  when  I  embraced  the  permission  of  our  keeper  to  quit  my 
cell,  and  move  about  the  prison  bounds,  I  found  myself  sur- 
rounded by  seventy  or  eighty  marines  and  seamen,  who  were 
undergoing  the  penalties  of  various  crimes.  The  whole  estab- 
lishment was  under  the  surveillance  of  a  naval  commissary,  sub- 
ject to  strict  regulations.  In  due  time,  two  spacious  rooms  were 
assigned  for  my  gang,  while  the  jailer,  who  turned  out  to  be  an 
amphibious  scamp, — half  sailor,  half  soldier, — assured  us,  "  on 
the  honor  of  a  vieux  tnilitaire^^''  that  his  entire  jurisdiction  should 
be  our  limits  so  long  as  we  behaved  with  propriety. 

Next  day  I  descended  to  take  exercise  in  a  broad  court-yard, 
over  whose  lofty  walls  the  fresh  blue  sky  looked  temptingly ;  and 
was  diligently  chewing  the  cud  of  bitter  fancies,  when  a  stout 
elderly  man,  in  shabby  uniform,  came  to  a  military  halt  before 
me,  and,  abruptly  saluting  in  regulation  style,  desired  the  favor 
of  a  word. 

''  Far  don  ^  mon  brave  I  "  said  the  intruder,  "  but  I  should  be 
charmed  if  Monsieur  le  capitaine  will  honor  me  by  the  informa- 
tion whether  it  has  been  his  lot  to  enjoy  the  accommodations  of 
a  French  prison,  prior  to  the  unlucky  mischance  which  gives  us 
the  delight  of  his  society  !  " 

"  No,"  said  I,  sulkily. 

"  Encore,"  continued  the  questioner,  "  will  it  be  disa- 
greeable, if  I  improve  this  opportunity,  by  apprising  Monsieur 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  289 

le  capitaine^  on  the  part  of  our  companions  and  comrades,  of  the 
regulations  of  this  roval  institution  ?  " 

"  By  no  means,"  returned  I,  somewhat  softer. 

"  Then,  mon  cher^  the  sooner  you  are  initiated  into  the  mys- 
teries of  the  craft  the  better,  and  no  one  will  go  through  the 
ceremony  more  explicitly,  briefly  and  satisfactorily,  than  myself 
— le  Caporal  Blon.  First  of  all,  mon  brdve^  and  most  indispen- 
sable, as  your  good  sense  will  teach  you,  it  is  necessary  that 
every  new  comer  is  bound  to  pay  his  footing  among  the  "  govern- 
ment  hoarders  ;  "  and  as  you,  Monsieur  le  capitaine,  seem  to  be 
the  honored  chef  of  this  charming  little  squadron,  I  will  make 
bold  to  thank  you  for  a  Louis  cVor^  or  a  Napoleon^  to  insure 
your  welcome." 

The  request  was  no  sooner  out  than  complied  with. 

"  Bien  I "  continued  the  corporal,  "  c'cst  un  hon  enfant^ 
parbJeu !  Now,  I  have  but  one  more  mystere  to  impart,  and 
that  is  a  regulation  which  no  clever  chap  disregards.  We  are 
companions  in  misery  ;  we  sleep  beneath  one  roof;  we  eat  out  of 
one  kettle; — in  fact,  7ious  sommes  freres^  and  the  secrets  of 
brothers  are  sacred^  within  these  walls,  from  jailers  and  turn- 
leys  !  " 

As  he  said  these  words,  he  pursed  up  his  mouth,  bent  his 
eyes  scrutinizingly  into  mine,  and  laying  his  finger  on  his  lip, 
brought  his  right  hand  once  more,  with  a  salute,  to  the  oily  rem- 
nant of    a  military  cap. 

I  was  initiated.  I  gave  the  required  pledge  for  my  party, 
and,  in  return,  was  assured  that,  in  any  enterprise  undertaken 
for  our  escape, — which  seemed  to  be  the  great  object  and  concern 
of  every  body's  prison-life, — we  should  be  assisted  and  protected 
by  our  fellow- sufierers. 

Most  of  this  day  was  passed  in  our  rooms,  and,  at  dark,  after 
being  mustered  and  counted,  we  were  locked  up  for  the  night. 
For  some  time  we  moped  and  sulked,  according  to  the  fashion  of 
all  new  convicts,  but,  at  length,  we  sallied  forth  in  a  body  to  the 
court-yard,  determined  to  take  the  world  as  it  went,  and  make 
the  best  of  a  bad  bargain. 

I  soon  fell  into  a  pleasant  habit  of  chatting  familiarly  with 
18 


290  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

old  Corporal  Blon,  who  was  grand  chamberlain,  or  master  of  cere- 
monies, to  our  penal  household,  and  turned  out  to  be  a  good 
fellow,  though  a  frequent  offender  against  "  le  coq  de  France.^'' 
Blon  drew  me  to  a  seat  in  the  sunshine,  which  I  enjoyed,  after 
shivering  in  the  cold  apartments  of  the  prison  ;  and,  stepping  off 
among  the  prisoners,  began  to  bring  them  up  for  introduction  to 
Don  Teodor,  separately.  First  of  all,  I  had  the  honor  of  re- 
ceiving Monsieur  Laramie,  a  stout,  stanch,  well-built  marine, 
who  professed  to  be  maitre  cVarmes  of  our  "  royal  boarding- 
house,"  and  tendered  .his  services  in  teaching  me  the  use  of 
rapier  and  broadsword,  at  the  rate  of  a  franc  per  week.  Next 
came  a  burly,  beef-eating  bully,  half  sailor,  half  lubber,  who  ap- 
proached with  a  swinging  gait,  and  was  presented  B.sfrere  Zouche, 
teacher  of  single  stick,  who  was  also  willing  to  make  me  skilful 
in  my  encounters  with  foot-pads  for  a  reasonable  salary.  Then 
followed  a  dancing-master,  a  tailor,  a  violin-teacher,  a  shoe- 
maker, a  letter-writer,  a  barber,  a  clothes-washer,  and  various 
other  useful  and  reputable  tradespeople  or  professors,  all  of 
whom  expressed  anxiety  to  inform  my  mind,  cultivate  my  taste, 
expedite  my  correspondence,  delight  my  ear,  and  improve  my 
appearance,  for  weekly  stipends. 

I  did  not,  at  first,  understand  precisely  the  object  of  all  their 
ceremonious  appeals  to  my  purse,  but  I  soon  discovered  from 
Corporal  Blon, — who  desired  an  early  discount  of  his  note^ — 
that  I  was  looked  on  as  a  sort  of  Don  Magnifico  from  Africa, 
who  had  saved  an  immense  quantity  of  gold  from  ancient  traffic, 
all  of  which  I  could  command,  in  spite  of  imprisonment. 

So  I  thought  it  best  not  to  undeceive  the  industrious  wretches, 
and,  accordingly,  dismissed  each  of  them  with  a  few  kind  words, 
and  promised  to  accept  their  offers  when  I  became  a  little  more 
fapailiar  with  my  quarters. 

After  breakfast,  I  made  a  tour  of  the  corridors,  to  see 
■^vh ether  the  representations  of  my  morning  courtiers  were  true ; 
and  found  the  shoemakers  and  tailors  busy  over  toeless  boots 
and  patchwork  garments.  One  alcove  contained  the  violinist 
and  dancing-master,  giving  lessons  to  several  scapegraces  in  the 
terpsichorean  art ;  in  another  was  the  letter-writer,  laboriously 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  291 

adorning  a  sheet  with  cupids,  hearts,  flames,  and  arrows,  while 
a  love-lorn  booby  knelt  beside  him,  dictating  a  message  to  his 
mistress  ;  in  a  hall  I  found  two  pupils  of  Monsieur  Laramie  at 
quart  and  tih-ce ;  in  the  corridors  I  came  upon  a  string  of  tables, 
filled  with  cigars,  snufif,  writing-paper,  ink,  pens,  wax,  wafers,  nee- 
dles and  thread  ;  while,  in  the  remotest  cell,  I  discovered  a  pawn- 
broker and  gambling-table.  Who  can  doubt  that  a  real  Gaul 
knows  how  to  kill  time,  when  he  is  unwillingly  converted  into  a 
"  government  boarder,"  and  transfers  the  occupations,  amuse- 
ments, and  vices  of  life,  to  the  recesses  of  a  prison  ! 


Very  soon  after  my  incarceration  at  Brest,  I  addressed  a 
memorial  to  the  Spanish  consul,  setting  forth  the  afflictions  of 
twenty-two  of  his  master's  subjects,  and  soliciting  the  interfer- 
ence of  our  ambassador  at  Paris.  We  were  promptly  visited  by 
the  consul  and  an  eminent  lawyer,  who  asserted  his  ability  to 
stay  proceedings  against  the  ratification  of  our  sentence ;  but,  as 
the  Spanish  minister  never  thought  fit  to  notice  our  misfortunes, 
the  efforts  of  the  lawyer  and  the  good  will  of  our  consul  were 
ineffectual.  Three  months  glided  by,  while  I  lingered  at  Brest; 
yet  my  heart  did  not  sink  with  hope  delayed,  for  the  natural 
buoyancy  of  my  spirit  sustained  me,  and  I  entered  with  avidity 
upon  all  the  schemes  and  diversions  of  our  stronghold. 

Blon  kept  me  busy  discounting  his  twenty  sous  notes,  which 
I  afterwards  always  took  care  to  lose  to  him  at  cards.  Then  I 
patronized  the  dancing-master;  took  two  months'  lessons  with 
Laramie  and  Zouche;  caused  my  shoes  to  be  thoroughly  mended ; 
had  my  clothes  repaired  and  scoured  ;  and,  finally,  patronized  all 
the  various  industries  of  my  comrades,  to  the  extent  of  two  hun- 
dred francs. 

Suddenly,  in  the  midst  of  these  diversions,  an  order  came 
for  our  immediate  transfer  to  the  civil ]jrison  of  Brest,  a  gloomy 
tower  in  the  walled  chateau  of  that  detestable  town. 


292  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 


CHAPTER     XLV. 

I  WAS  taken  from  one  prison  to  the  other  in  a  boat,  and  once 
more  spared  the  mortification  of  a  parade  through  the  streets, 
under  a  guard  of  soldiers. 

A  receipt  was  given  for  the  whole  squad  to  the  brigadier  who 
chaperoned  us.  My  men  were  summarily  distributed  by  the 
jailer  among  the  cells  already  filled  with  common  malefactors ; 
but,  as  the  appearance  of  the  officers  indicated  the  possession  of] 
cash,  the  turnkey  offered  "  la  salle  cle  distinction  "  for  our  use, 
provided  we  were  satisfied  with  a  monthly  rent  of  ten  francs. 
I  thought  the  French  government  was  bound  to  find  suitable 
accommodations  for  an  involuntary  guest,  and  that  it  was  rather 
hard  to  imprison  me  first,  and  make  me  pay  board  afterwards ; 
but,  on  reflection,  I  concluded  to  accept  the  ofi"er,  hard  as  it  was, 
and,  accordingly,  we  took  possession  of  a  large  apartment,  with 
two  grated  windows  looking  upon  a  narrow  and  sombre  court- 
yard. 

We  had  hardly  entered  the  room,  when  a  buxom  woman  fol- 
lowed with  the  deepest  curtseys,  and  declared  herself  "  most 
happy  to  have  it  in  her  power  to  supply  us  with  beds  and  bed- 
ding, at  ten  sous  per  day."  She  apprised  us,  moreover,  that  the 
daily  prison  fare  consisted  of  two  pounds  and  a  half  of  black 
bread,  with  water  a  discretio)t.  but  if  we  wished,  she  might  intro 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    StAVER.  293 

duce  the  vivandiere  of  the  regiment,  stationed  in  the  chateau, 
who  would  supply  our  meals  twice  a  day  from  the  mess  of  the 
petty  officers. 

My  money  had  not  been  seriously  moth-eaten  during  our  pre- 
vious confinement,  so  that  I  did  not  hesitate  to  strike  a  bargain 
with  Madame  Sorret,  and  to  request  that  la  vivandiere  might 
make  her  appearance  on  the  theatre  of  action  as  soon  as  possible. 
Presently,  the  door  opened  again,  and  the  dame  reappeared  ac- 
companied by  two  Spanish  women,  wives  of  musicians  in  the 
corps,  who  had  heard  that  several  of  their  countrymen  had  that 
morning  been  incarcerated,  and  availed  themselves  of  the  earliest 
chance  to  visit  and  succor  them. 

For  the  thousandth  time  I  blessed  the  noble  heart  that  ever 
beats  in  the  breast  of  a  Spanish  woman  when  distress  or  calamity 
appeals,  and  at  once  proceeded  to  arrange  the  diet  of  our  future 
prison  life.  AVe  were  to  have  two  meals  a  day  of  three  dishes, 
for  each  of  which  we  were  to  pay  fifteen  sous  in  advance.  The 
bargain  made,  we  sat  down  on  the  floor  for  a  chat. 

My  brace  of  Catalan  visitors  had  married  in  this  regiment 
when  the  Duke  d'Angouleme  marched  his  troops  into  Spain;  and 
like  faithful  girls,  followed  their  husbands  in  all  their  meanderings 
about  France  since  the  regiment's  return.  As  two  of  my  officers 
were  Catalonians  by  birth,  a  friendship  sprang  up  like  wildfire 
between  us,  and  from  that  hour,  these  excellent  women  not  only 
visited  us  daily,  but  ran  our  errands,  attended  to  our  health, 
watched  us  like  sisters,  and  procured  all  those  little  comforts 
which  the  tender  soul  of  the  sex  can  alone  devise. 

I  hope  that  few  of  my  readers  have  personal  knowledge  of 
the  treatment  or  fare  of  civil  prisons  in  the  provinces  of  France 
during  the  republican  era  of  which  I  am  writing.  I  think  it  well 
to  set  down  a  record  of  its  barbarity. 

As  I  before  said,  the  regular  ration  consisted  exclusively  of 
black  bread  and  water.  Nine  pounds  of  straw  were  allowed 
weekly  to  each  prisoner  for  his  lair.  Neither  blankets  nor  cov- 
ering were  furnished,  even  in  the  winter,  and  as  the  cells  are 
built  without  stoves  or  chimneys,  the  wretched  convicts  were 
compelled   to  huddle  together  in  heaps  to  keep  from  perishing. 


294  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

Besides  this,  the  government  denied  all  supplies  of  fresh  rai- 
ment, so  that  the  wretches  who  were  destitute  of  friends  or 
means,  were  alive  and  hideous  with  vermin  in  a  few  days  after 
incarceration.  No  amusement  was  allowed  in  the  fresh  air  save 
twice  a  week,  when  the  prisoners  were  turned  out  on  the  flat  roof 
of  the  tower,  where  they  might  sun  themselves  for  an  hour  or  two 
under  the  muzzle  of  a  guard. 

Such  was  the  treatment  endured  by  twelve  of  my  men  during 
the  year  they  continued  in  France.  There  are  some  folks  who 
may  be  charitable  enough  to  remark — that  slavers  deserved  no 
better  ! 

I  believe  that  convicts  in  the  central  prisons  of  France,  where 
they  were  either  made  or  allowed  to  work,  fared  better  in  every 
respect  than  in  the  provincial  lock-ups  on  the  coast.  There  is  no 
doubt,  however,  that  the  above  description  at  the  epoch  of  my  in- 
carceration, was  entirely  true  of  all  the  smaller  jurisdictions, 
whose  culprits  were  simply  doomed  to  confinement  without  labor. 

Often  did  my  heart  bleed  for  the  poor  sailors,  whom  I  aided 
to  the  extent  of  prudence  from  my  slender  means,  when  I  knew 
not  how  long  it  might  be  my  fate  to  remain  an  inmate  of  the 
chateau.  After  these  unfortunate  men  had  disposed  of  all  their 
spare  garments  to  obtain  now  and  then  a  meagre  soup  to  moisten 
their  stony  loaves,  they  were  nearly  a  year  without  tasting 
either  meat  or  broth !  Once  only, — on  the  anniversary  of 
St.  Philippe, — the  Sisters  of  Charity  gave  them  a  pair  of  bul- 
lock's heads  to  make  2i  festival  in  honor  of  the  Good  King  of  the 
French  ! 


TWENTY    YEAKS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  295 


CHAPTER    XLVI. 

As  the  apartment  rented  by  us  from  the  jailer  was  the  only  one 
in  the  prison  he  had  a  right  to  dispose  of  for  his  own  benefit,  se- 
veral other  culprits,  able  to  pay  for  comfortable  lodginc^s,  were 
from  time  to  time  locked  up  in  it.  These  occasional  visitors  af- 
forded considerable  entertainment  for  our  seclusion,  as  they  were 
often  persons  of  quality  arrested  for  petty  misdemeanors  or  po- 
litical opinions,  and  sometimes  cJievalicrs  d'indiistric,  whose  pro- 
fessional careers  were  rich  with  anecdote  and  adventure. 

It  was  probably  a  month  after  we  began  our  intimacy  with 
this  "government  boarding-house"  that  our  number  was  in- 
creased by  a  gentleman  of  cultivated  manners  and  foppish  cos- 
tume. He  was,  perhaps,  a  little  too  much  over-dressed  with  chains, 
trinkets,  and  perfumed  locks,  to  be  perfectly  comme  il  faut^  yet 
there  was  an  intellectual  power  about  his  forehead  and  eyes,  and 
a  bewitching  smile  on  his  lips,  that  insinuated  themselves  into 
my  heart  the  moment  I  beheld  him.  He  was  precisely  the  sort 
of  man  who  is  considered  by  nine  tenths  of  the  world  as  a  ver}' 
"  fascinating  individual." 

Accordingly,  I  welcomed  the  stranger  most  cordially  in 
French,  and  was  still  more  bewitched  by  the  retiring  shyness  of 
his  modest  demeanor.  As  the  jailer  retired,  a  wink  signified 
his  desire  to  commune  with  me  apart  in  his  ofiice,  where  I  learn- 


296  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

ed  that  the  new  comer  had  been  arrested  under  a  charge  of  coun- 
terfeitmg^  but  on  account  of  his  genteel  appearance  and  blood,  was 
placed  in  our  apartment.  I  had  no  doubt  that  neither  appearance 
nor  blood  had  been  the  springs  of  sympathy  in  the  jailer's  heart, 
but  that  the  artificial  money-maker  had  judiciously  used  certain 
lawful  coins  to  insure  better  quarters.  Nevertheless,  I  did  not 
hesitate  to  approve  the  turnkey's  disposal  of  the  suspected  felon, 
and  begged  him  to  make  no  apologies  or  give  himself  concern  as 
to  the  quality  of  the  article  that  could  afford  us  a  moment's 
amusement  in  our  dreary  den. 

I  next  proceeded  to  initiate  my  gentleman  into  the  mysteries 
of  the  chateau  ;  and  as  dinner  was  about  serving,  I  suggested  that 
the  most  important  of  our  domestic  rites  on  such  occasions,  impe- 
ratively required  three  or  four  bottles  of  first  rate  claret. 

By  this  time  we  had  acquired  a  tolerable  knack  of  "  slaugh- 
tering the  evening."  Our  Spanish  girls  supplied  us  with  guitars 
and  violins,  which  my  comrades  touched  with  some  skill.  We 
were  thus  enabled  to  give  an  occasional  soiree  dansante,  assisted 
by  la  Vivandiere,  her  companions  Dolorescita,  Concha,  Madame 
Sorret,  and  an  old  maid  who  passed  for  her  sister.  The  arrival 
of  the  counterfeiter  enabled  us  to  make  up  a  full  cotillon  without 
the  musicians.  Our  soirees^  enlivened  by  private  contributions 
and  a  bottle  or  two  of  wine,  took  place  on  Thursdays  and  Sun- 
days, while  the  rest  of  the  week  was  passed  in  playing  cards, 
reading  romances,  writing  petitions,  flirting  with  the  girls,  and 
cursing  our  fate  and  the  French  government.  Fits  of  wrath 
against  the  majesty  of  Gaul  were  more  frequent  in  the  early 
morning,  when  the  pleasant  sleeper  would  be  suddenly  roused 
from  happy  dreams  by  the  tramp  of  soldiers  and  grating  bolts, 
which  announced  the  unceremonious  entrance  of  our  inspector  to 
count  his  cattle  and  sound  our  window  gratings. 

But  time  wastes  one's  cash  as  well  as  one's  patience  in  prison. 
The  more  we  grumbled,  danced,  drank,  and  eat,  the  more  we  spent 
or  lavished,  so  that  my  funds  looked  very  like  a  thin  sediment 
at  the  bottom  of  the  purse,  when  I  began  to  reflect  upon  means  of 
replenishing.  I  could  not  beg;  I  was  master  of  no  handicraft; 
nor  was  I  willing  to  descend  among  the  vermin  of  the  common 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER,  297 

cbain-gang.  Shame  prevented  an  application  to  my  relatives  in 
France  or  Italy  :  and  when  I  addressed  my  old  partner  or  former 
friends  in  Cuba,  I  was  not  even  favored  with  a  reply.  At  last, 
my  little  trinkets  and  gold  chronometer  were  sacrificed  to  pay 
the  lawyer  for  a  final  memorial  and  to  liquidate  a  week's 
lodging  in  advance. 

"  Now,  mon  enfant,''^  said  Madame  Sorret,  as  she  took  my 
money, — trimming  her  cap,  and  looking  at  me  with  that  thrifty 
interest  that  a  Frenchwoman  always  knows  how  to  turn  to  the 
best  account ; — '•  now,  mon  enfant, — this  is  your  last  franc  and 
your  last  week  in  my  apartment,  you  say  ; — your  last  week  in 
a  room  where  you  and  I,  and  Babette,  Dolorescita,  and  Concha, 
and  Monsieur,  have  had  such  good  times  !  Mais  joourquoi,  mon 
cher  ?  why  shall  it  be  your  last  week  ?  Come  let  us  think  a  bit. 
Won't  it  be  a  thousand  times  better  ;  won't  it  do  you  a  vast 
deal  more  good, — if  instead  of  sacrc-'mg  le  bon  Loi^is  Philippe, — 
paying  lawyers  for  memorials  that  are  never  read, — hoping  for 
letters  from  the  Spanish  envoy  which  never  come,  and  eating 
your  heart  up  in  spite  and  bitterness — you  look  the  matter  plump 
in  the  face  like  a  man,  and  not  like  a  polisson,  and  turn  to  ac- 
count those  talents  which  it  has  pleased  le  bon  Dieu  to  give 
you  ?  Voyez  vous,  Capitaine  T^odore, — you  speak  foreign  lan- 
guages like  a  native  ;  and  it  was  no  longer  than  yesterday  that 
Monsieur  Randanne,  your  advocate,  as  lie  came  down  from  the 
last  interview  with  you,  stopped  at  my  bureau,  and — '  Ah  !  Ma- 
dame Sorret,'  said  he,  '  what  a  linguist  poor  Canot  is, — how  de- 
lightfully he  speaks  English,  and  how  glad  I  should  be  if  he  had 
any  place  in  which  he  could  teach  my  sons  the  noble  tongue  of 
the  great  Skatspeer  ! ' 

"  Now,  raon  capitaine"  continued  she,  "  what  the  good  Ran- 
danne said,  has  been  growing  in  my  mind  ever  since,  like  the 
salad  seed  in  the  box  that  is  sunned  in  our  prison  yard.  In 
fact,  I  have  fixed  the  matter  perfectly.  You  shall  have  my  bed- 
room for  a  schoolhouse ;  and,  if  you  will,  you  may  begin  to-mor- 
row with  my  two  sons  for  pupils,  at  fifteen  francs  a  month  !  " 

Did  I  not  bless  the  wit  and  heart  of  woman  again  and  again 
13* 


298  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ]    OR, 

in  my  joy  of  industrial  deliverance  !  The  heart  of  woman — that 
noble  heart  !  burn  it  in  the  fire  of  Africa  ;  steep  it  in  the  snow  of 
Sweden  ;  lap  it  in  the  listless  elysium  of  Indian  tropics  ;  cage  it 
in  the  centre  of  dungeons,  as  the  palpitating  core  of  that  stony 
rind, — yet  every  where  and  always,  throughout  my  wild  career, 
has  it  been  the  last  sought — but  surest,  sweetest,  and  truest  of 
devoted  friends  ! 

Aide  ioi,  et  Dieu  V  aider  a  I — was  my  motto  from  that  mo- 
ment. For  years  it  was  the  first  lesson  of  intellectual  power  and 
self-reliance  that  had  checkered  a  life  of  outlawry,  in  which  ad- 
venturous impatience  preferred  the  gambling  risks  of  fortune  to 
the  slow  accretions  of  regular  toil.     I  was  a  schoolmaster  ! 

Madame  Sorret's  plan  was  perfectly  successful.  In  less  than 
a  week  I  was  installed  in  her  chamber,  with  a  class  formed  of  my 
lady's  lads,  a  son  and  friend  of  my  lawyer,  and  a  couple  of  sons 
of  officers  in  the  chateau  ;  the  whole  producing  a  monthly  income 
of  fifty  francs.  As  I  assumed  my  vocation  with  the  spirit  of  a 
needy  professor,  I  gained  the  good  will  of  all  the  parents  by 
assiduous  instruction  of  their  children.  Gradually  I  extended 
the  sphere  of  my  usefulness,  by  adding  penmanship  to  my  other 
branches  of  tuition  ;  and  so  well  did  I  please  the  parents,  that 
they  volunteered  a  stipend  of  eighteen  fra)ics  more. 

I  would  not  dare  affirm,  that  my  pupils  made  extraordinary 
progress  ;  yet  I  am  sure  the  children  not  only  acquired  cleverly, 
but  loved  me  as  a  companion.  My  scheme  of  instruction  was 
not  modelled  upon  that  of  other  pedagogues  ;  for  I  simply  con- 
tented myself,  in  the  small  class,  with  reasoning  out  each  lesson 
thoroughly,  and  never  allowing  the  boys  to  depart  till  tliey  com- 
prehended every  part  of  their  task.  After  this,  it  was  my  habit  to 
engage  their  interest  i?i  language^  by  familiar  dialogues,  which 
taught  them  the  names  of  furniture,  apparel,  instruments,  imple- 
ments, animals,  occupations,  trades ;  and  thus  I  led  them  insen- 
sibly from  the  most  simple  nomenclature  to  the  most  abstract. 
I  deprived  the  interview,  as  much  as  I  could,  of  task-like  for- 
mality ;  and  invariably  closed  the  school  with  a  story  from  my 
travels  or  adventures.     I  may  not  have  ripened  my  scholars  into 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  299 

classical  Anglo-Saxons,  but  I  have  the  happiness  to  know  that  I 
earned  an  honest  living,  supported  my  companions,  and  obtained 
the  regard  of  my  pupils  to  such  a  degree,  that  the  little  band 
accompanied  me  with  tears  to  the  ship,  when,  long  afterwards,  I 
was  sent  a  happy  exile  from  France. 


300  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 


CHAPTER     XLVII. 

1  HAVE  said  that  our  genteel  felon  was  not  only  refined  in  man- 
ners but  shy  towards  his  new  companions  ;  nor,  for  several  weeks, 
could  all  our  efi"orts  rub  off  his  reserve.  I  was  not  surprised  that 
he  kept  aloof  from  the  coarser  inmates,  but  I  was  not  prepared 
to  find  that  all  my  own  advances  to  confideDce  and  companionship, 
were  repulsed  with  even  more  decision  than  those  of  my  officers. 
At  last,  some  passing  event  disclosed  my  true  character  to  him, 
when  I  learned  for  the  first  time  that  he  had  mistaken  me  for  a 
government  spy  ;■  inasmuch  as  he  could  not  otherwise  account  for 
my  intimacy  with  Madame  Sorret  and  her  spouse. 

Our  first  move  towards  confidence  was  owing  to  the  follow- 
ing circumstance.  I  had  been  engaged  one  forenoon  in  writing 
a  letter  to  my  mother,  when  Madame  Sorret  sent  for  me  to  see  the 
Sisters  of  Charity,  who  were  making  their  rounds  with  a  few 
comforts  for  the  convicts.  I  made  my  toilette  and  repaired  to 
the  parlor,  where  the  charitable  women,  who  heard  many  kind 
things  of  me  from  the  landlady,  bestowed  a  liberal  donation  of 
books.  Returning  quickly  to  my  letter,  which  I  had  left  open 
on  the  table,  confident  that  no  one  in  the  room  read  Italian,  I 
again  took  up  my  pen  to  finish  a  paragraph.  But,  as  I  observed 
the  page,  it  seemed  that  I  had  not  written  so  much,  yet  the  sheet 
was  nearly  full  of  words,  and  all  in  my  handwriting.    I  reperused 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  301 

the  document  and  found  several  lines,  which,  though  in  perfect 
keeping  with  the  sense  and  context  of  the  composition,  were  cer- 
tainly not  in  mj  natural  style.  I  was  sure  I  had  not  used  the 
complimentary  language,  to  which  I  am  always  so  averse.  Still 
I  read  the  page  again — again — and  again  !  I  got  up  ;  walked 
about  the  room  ;  took  the  paper  to  the  window  ;  put  it  down  ; 
walked  about  again,  and  then  reperused  the  letter.  For  my  life, 
I  could  not  detect  the  precise  difficulty  that  puzzled  me.  The 
paper  was,  perhaps,  bewitched  !  It  was  mine,  and  yet  it  was  not ! 
In  my  dilemma,  I  rolled  out  a  round  Spanish  carramba  or  two  ; 
and,  with  an  Ave  Maria  of  utter  bewilderment,  began  to  put  up 
my  writing  materials. 

My  companions,  who  had  been  huddled  in  a  corner,  watching 
my  actions,  could  stand  it  no  longer,  but  bursting  into  peals  of 
hearty  laughter,  announced  that  Monsieur  Germaine  had  taken 
the  liberty  to  add  a  postscript,  while  I  was  deep  in  literature 
with  the  Sisters  of  Charity  ! 

The  ice  was  broken  !  Monsieur  Germaine  was  not  yet  con- 
victed, so  we  gave  him  the  benefit  of  the  British  law,  and  resolving 
to  "  consider  the  fellow  innocent  till  proved  to  be  guilty,"  we 
raised  him  to  the  dignity  of  companionship.  His  education 
was  far  superior  to  mine,  and  his  conversational  powers  were 
wonderful.  He  seemed  perfectly  familiar  with  Latin  and  Greek, 
and  had  a  commanding  knowledge  of  history,  theology,  mathe- 
matics, and  astronomy.  I  never  met  his  equal  in  penmanship, 
drawing,  and  designing. 

A  few  days  of  sociability  sufficed  to  win  a  mutual  confidence, 
and  to  demand  the  mutual  stories  of  our  lives. 

Germaine  was  born  so  high  up  on  those  picturesque  borders 
of  Piedmont,  that  it  was  difficult  to  say  whether  the  Swiss  or 
Italian  predominated  in  his  blood.  The  troubles  and  wars  of 
the  region  impoverished  his  parents,  who  had  been  gentlefolks  in 
better  times  ;  yet  they  managed  to  bestow  the  culture  that  made 
him  the  accomplished  person  I  have  described.  No  opportunity 
offered,  however,  for  his  advancement  as  he  reached  maturity, 
and  it  was  thought  best  that  he  should  go  abroad  in  search  of 
fortune.     For  a  while  the  quiet  and  modest  youth  was  successful 


302  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

in  the  humbler  employments  to  which  he  stooped  for  bread ;  but 
his  address  and  talents,  and  especially  his  skill  in  designing  and 
penmanship,  attracted  the  notice  of  a  sharper,  with  •whom  he 
accidentally  became  intimate  ;  so  that,  before  he  knew  it,  the 
adroit  scrivener  was  both  used  and  compromised  by  the  knave. 
In  truth,  I  do  not  suppose  that  Germaine's  will  was  made  of 
stern  and  tough  materials.  Those  soft  and  gentle  beings  are 
generally  disposed  to  grasp  the  pleasures  of  life  without  labor ; 
and  whenever  a  relaxed  conscience  has  once  allowed  its  possessor 
to  tamper  with  crime,  its  success  is  not  only  a  stimulant  but  a 
motive  for  farther  enterprise.  Germaine  was  soon  a  successful 
forger.  He  amassed  twenty  or  thirty  thousand  francs  by  prac- 
tices so  perfect  in  their  execution,  that  he  never  dreamed  of 
detection.  But,  at  last,  a  daring  speculation  made  him  our  com- 
panion in  the  tower. 

Three  days  before  his  introduction  to  the  chateau  of  Brest, 
and  a  few  hours  before  the  regular  departure  of  the  Paris  mail, 
Germaine  called  on  an  exchange  broker  with  seventeen  thousand 
francs  in  gold,  with  which  he  purchased  a  sight  draft  on  the 
capital.  Soon  after  he  called  a  second  time  on  the  broker,  and 
exhibiting  a  letter  of  orders,  bearing  a  regular  post-mark,  ffom 
his  principals,  who  were  alleged  to  be  oil  merchants  at  Mar- 
seilles, desired  to  countermand  the  transaction,  and  receive  back 
his  gold  for  the  bill  of  exchange  which  he  tendered.  The  prin- 
cipal partner  of  the  brokers  did  not  happen  to  be  within  at  the 
moment,  and  the  junior  declined  complying  till  his  return.  En 
attendant,  Monsieur  Germaine  sallied  forth,  and  oifered  a  neigh- 
boring broker  an  additional  half  per  cent,  on  the  current  value 
of  gold  for  the  cash.  He  expressed,  as  the  cause  of  this  sacri- 
fice, extreme  anxiety  to  depart  by  the  four  o'clock  diligence,  but 
the  urgency  aroused  the  broker's  suspicion,  and  led  him  to 
request  Germaine's  return  in  half  an  hour,  which  he  required  to 
collect  the  specie. 

The  incautious  forger  went  off  to  his  hotel  with  the  promise 
in  his  ear,  while  the  wary  broker  dropped  in  on  the  drawers  of 
the  draft  to  compare  notes.  The  result  of  the  interview  was  a 
visit  to  the  bureau  de  police,  whence  a  couple  of  officers  were 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  3C3 

despatched  to  Germaine's  hotel.  They  entered  the  dandy's  room 
in  disguise,  but  they  were  not  quick  enough  to  save  from  destruc- 
tion several  j^'f'oof  impressions  of  blank  drafts,  which  the  coun- 
terfeiter cast  into  the  fire  the  moment  he  heard  a  knock  at  his 
door.  In  his  trunks,  they  found  engraving  tools,  a  small  press, 
various  acids  and  a  variety  of  inks  ;  all  of  which  were  duly  noted 
and  preserved,  while  Monsieur  Grermaine  was  committed  to  the 
chateau. 

In  those  days  there  were  no  electric  wires,  and  as  the  wea- 
ther became  thick  and  cloudy-,  the  old-fashioned  semaphore  or 
telegraph  was  useless  in  giving  notice  to  the  Parisian  police  to 
stop  the  payment  of  a  suspected  draft,  and  arrest  the  forger's 
accomplice  in  the  capital. 

Soon  after  the  mail  of  that  day  from  Brest  reached  the 
metropolis,  a  lady  of  most  respectable  appearance,  clad  in  mourn- 
ing, presented  herself  at  the  counter  of  the  broker's  Parisian 
correspondent,  and  exhibiting  an  unquestionable  draft,  drew 
seventeen  thousand  francs.  From  the  rapidity  with  which  the 
whole  of  this  adroit  scheme  was  accomplished  in  Brest  and  Paris, 
it  seems  that  Germaine  required  but  four  hours  to  copy,  engrave, 
print  and  fill  up  the  forged  bill ;  and  yet,  so  perfectly  did  he 
succeed,  that  when  the  discharged  draft  came  back  to  Brest, 
neither  drawers,  brokers,  nor  police  could  distinguish  between  the 
true  one  and.  the  false  !  No  one  had  seen  Germaine  at  work,  or 
could  prove  complicity  with  the  lady.  The  mourning  dame 
was  nowhere  to  be  found  in  Paris,  Brest  or  Marseilles  ;  so  that 
when  I  finally  quitted  the  chMcau.^  the  adroit  chevalier  was  still 
an  inmate,  but  detained  only  on  siisjncion  ! 


304 


CHAPTER     XLVIII. 

This  charming  young  soldier  of  fortune  -was  our  room-mate  for 
nine  months,  and  engaged  in  several  of  our  enterprises  for  escape. 
But  Germaine  was  more  a  man  oi  fijiesse  than  action,  and  his  im- 
prisonment was  the  first  mishap  of  that  nature  in  his  felonious 
career  ;  so  that  I  cannot  say  I  derived  much  advantage,  either 
from  his  contrivances  or  suggestions. 


I  always  cultivated  a  sneaking  fondness  for  the  sex,  and  was, 
perhaps,  especially  devoted  to  those  who  7night  aid  me  if  they 
pleased,  when  I  got  into  difficulties.  Into  this  category,  under 
existing  circumstances,  fell  that  very  worthy  person,  Mademoi- 
selle Babette,  whom  I  have  heretofore  rather  ungallantly  reported 
as  an  "  antique  virgin."  It  is  true  that  Babette  was,  perhaps, 
not  as  young  as  she  had  been ;  but  an  unmarried  Frenchwoman 
is  unquestionably  possessed  of  an  elixir  against  age, — some 
eau  restoratif^ — with  which  she  defies  time,  preserves  her  out- 
lines, and  keeps  up  that  elastic  gayety  of  heart,  which  renders 
her  always  the  most  delightful  of  companions.  Now,  I  do  not 
pretend,  when  I  flirted  with  Babette,  and  sometimes  made 
downright  love  to  the  damsel,  that  I  ever  intended  leading  her 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  305 

to  any  of  the  altars  of  Brest,  when  it  should  please  the  ''  king  of 
the  barricades"  to  release  me  from  prison.  No  such  design  ever 
possessed  my  mind,  at  the  age  of  twenty-seven,  towards  a  maid 
of  thirty.  Yet,  I  confess  that  Babette  bewitched  the  sting  and 
memory  from  many  an  hour  of  prison-life,  and  played  the  com- 
edy of  love  a  la  Francaise  to  such  perfection,  that  I  doubt  not 
her  heart  rebounded  from  the  encounter  as  scarless  as  my  own. 

Germaine  joked  me  very  often  about  the  tender  passion,  the 
danger  of  trifling  with  youthful  hearts,  and  the  risk  I  ran  from 
encounters  with  such  glittering  eyes ;  till,  one  day,  he  suggested 
that  we  should  take  advantage  of  the  flirtation,  by  turning  it  to 
our  benefit  in  flight.  Sorret  and  his  wife  often  went  out  in  the 
afternoon,  and  left  the  gate  and  the  keys  solely  in  charge  of 
Babette,  who  improved  their  absence  by  spending  half  the  time 
in  our  apartment.  Now,  Germaine  proposed  that,  during  one  of 
these  absences,  I  should,  in  my  capacity  as  teacher,  feign  some 
excuse  to  leave  our  room,  and,  if  I  found  the  lieutenant  porter- 
ess  unwilling  to  yield  the  keys  to  my  passionate  entreaty,  we 
would  unhesitatingly  seize,  gag,  and  muffle  the  damsel  so  securely, 
that,  with  the  keys  in  our  possession,  we  might  open  the  gates, 
and  pass  without  question  the  only  sentinels  who  guarded  the 
exterior  corridor.  Germaine  was  eloquent  upon  the  merit  of  his 
scheme,  while,  to  my  mind,  it  indicated  the  bungling  project  of  a 
beginner,  and  was  promptly  rejected,  because  I  would  not  injure 
with  violence  the  innocent  girl  I  had  trifled  with,  and  because  I 
would  not  dishonor  the  kindness  of  Sorret  and  his  wife,  by  com- 
promising their  personal  vigilance. 

Next  morning,  Germaine  turned  over  to  me  long  before  day- 
light, and  whispered  his  delight  that  I  had  discarded  his  scheme, 
for  it  "  never  could  have  been  perfected  without  passports  to 
quit  the  towm  !  "  This  deficiency,  he  said,  had  absorbed  his 
mind  the  livelong  night,  and,  at  last,  a  bright  thought  suggested 
the  supply. 

"  Babette,"  continued  the  forger,  "  is  not  to  be  molested  in 
any  way,  so  you  may  make  your  mind  easy  about  your  sweet- 
heart, thougli  I  am  afraid  she  will  not  be  able  to  accompany  us 
in  our  enterprise.     First  and  foremost,  we  must  have   a  visit 


306  CAPTAIN"  canot:  or. 

from  our  Spanish  girls  to-morrow,  and,  as  you  enjoy  more  influ- 
ence than  Ij  it  will  be  best  for  you  to  prepare  them.  Dolores, 
who  is  bj  far  the  cleverest  of  the  party,  is  to  go  with  Concha 
boldly  to  the  prefecture  of  police,  and  demand  passport.s  for 
Paris.  These,  in  all  likelihood,  will  be  furnished  without  ques- 
tion. The  passports  once  in  hand,  our  demoiseUes  must  be  off 
to  an  apothecary's  for  such  acids  as  I  shall  prescribe ;  and  then, 
fiwn  capifainc,  leave  the  rest  to  me  !  '' 

I  turned  the  matter  over  in  my  mind,  pretending  to  finish  a 
morning  nap,  and,  while  we  were  dressing,  assented.  The  Span- 
ish women,  who  never  refused  their  countrymen  a  favor,  daringly 
obtained  the  passports,  and  smuggled  them  into  prison  with  the 
re^juired  acids.  Before  night  the  deed  was  done ;  the  gender 
of  the  documents  was  changed ;  Germaine  was  metamorphosed 
into  "  Pietro  Sazzolini"  a  tailor,  and  I  was  turned  into  a  cer- 
tain "  Dominio)  AtUonetti^'^  by  trade  a  carpenter  ! 

How  to  escape  was  our  next  concern.  This  could  not  be 
effected  without  breaking  prison, — a  task  of  some  enterprise,  as 
our  apartment  was  above  a  store  room,  always  closed,  barred,  and 
locked.  The  door  of  our  room  opened  on  a  long  passage,  broken 
at  intervals  by  several  iron  gates  before  the  main  portal  was 
reached :  so  that  our  only  hope  was  the  single  window,  that  illu- 
minated our  apartment  and  looked  into  a  small  yard,  guarded 
after  sunset  by  a  sentinel.  This  court,  moreover,  was  entirely 
hemmed  in  bj  a  wall,  which,  if  successfully  escaladed.  would 
lead  us  to  the  parade  ground  of  the  chateau. 

Days  passed,  while  my  dull  brain  and  the  kindled  fancy  of 
the  new  Naxzolini  were  inventing  plans.  Pietro  had  schemes 
enough,  for  his  imagination  was  both  vivid  and  ceaseless ;  but 
whenever  he  came  to  reduce  them  to  words,  it  was  always  found 
that  they  required  a  little  more  ^'polishing  in  certain  links," 
which  he  forthwith  retired  to  perform. 

One  of  our  greatest  difficulties  was,  how  to  deal  with  my 
officers,  who  had  proved  so  false  on  the  Senegal.  We  debated 
the  matter  for  a  long  time ;  but,  considering  that  they  were  sick 
of  long  confinement  and  bereft  of  future  comfort  without  my 
labor  we  resolved  to  let  them  partake  our  flight,  though,  once 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  307 

outside  the  chateau,  we  would  abandon  them  to  their  own 
resources. 

Accordingly,  we  imparted  our  scheme,  which  was  eagerly 
embraced ;  and,  through  the  kindness  of  our  Spanish  girls,  we 
secretly  despatched  all  our  spare  garments,  so  that  we  might  not 
issue  bare  into  the  censorious  world. 

All  being  prepared,  it  was  proposed  by  Signore  Pietro  that 
New  Year,  which  was  at  hand,  should  be  signalized  by  our  enter- 
prise. As  I  had  carefully  kept  and  secreted  the  saw  received 
from  my  Goree  friends,  we  possessed  a  most  valuable  implement ; 
so  that  it  was  resolved  to  attack  a  bar  the  moment  we  had  been 
mustered  and  locked  up  on  that  auspicious  night.  At  eleven,  a 
descent  into  the  court  beneath  the  window  was  to  be  commenced, 
and,  if  this  proved  successful,  there  was  no  doubt  we  could  reach 
the  beach  across  the  parade.  But  the  sentinel  still  required 
"  polishing "  out  of  the  courtyard!  This  was  a  tremendous 
obstacle  ;  still,  Germaine  once  more  put  on  his  fancy-wings,  and 
recommended  that  our  fair  Catalans,  whose  occupation  made 
them  familiar  with  the  whole  regiment,  should  ascertain  the  sen- 
tinels for  the  night  in  question,  and,  as  it  was  a  festival,  they 
might  easily  insinuate  a  few  bottles  of  brandy  into  the  guard- 
house, and  prepare  the  soldiery  for  sleep  instead  of  vigilance. 
But  the  success  and  merit  of  this  plan  were  considered  so  doubt- 
ful, tbat  another  scheme  was  kept  in  reserve  to  silence  the  sol- 
dier whose  duty  required  a  continual  march  beneath  our  window. 
If  the  women  failed  to  accomplish  our  wishes  with  liquor,  and  if 
the  sentry  persisted  in  a  vigilant  promenade,  it  was  proposed,  as 
soon  as  the  bar  parted,  to  drop  the  noose  of  a  lazoo  quietly  over 
his  head,  and  dragging  him  with  a  run  to  the  window-sill,  knock 
out  his  brains,  if  necessary,  with  the  iron. 

The  last  days  of  December  were  at  hand  ;  every  body  was 
busy  with  hope  or  preparation  ;  the  women  carried  off  our  gar- 
ments ;  then  they  brought  us  an  abundance  of  fishing  lines, 
hidden  beneath  their  petticoats ;  and,  finally,  a  rope,  strong 
enough  to  hang  a  man,  was  spun  in  darkness  by  the  whole 
detachment. 

The  wished-for  day  at  length  came,  with  the  jollity,  merri- 


308  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 


ment,  and  drunkenness,  that  attend  it  almost  universally  through 
out  la  belle  France.  But  there  was  not  so  sober  a  party  in  the 
kingdom  as  that  which  was  anxiously  gathered  together  over  a 
wineless  meal  in  the  chateau  of  Brest.  We  trembled  lest  a 
word,  a  traitor,  or  an  accident,  should  frustrate  our  hope  of  life 
and  freedom. 

In  the  afternoon,  our  Spanish  women,  gay  with  fresh  apparel, 
dashing  ribbons,  and  abundant  claret,  visited  their  fluttering 
birds  in  the  cage,  and  assured  success.  The  sergeant  of  the 
guard  was  married  to  one  of  their  intimate  friends,  and,  in  her 
company,  they  were  confident,  on  such  a  night,  of  reaching  the 
guard-room.  A  long  embrace,  perhaps  a  kiss,  and  a  most  aifec- 
tionate  farewell ! 

Supper  was  over.  Muster  passed.  Oh  !  how  slowl}'-  was 
drawn  the  curtain  of  darkness  over  that  shortest  of  days.  Would 
night  ne'ver  come  ?  It  did.  By  eight  o'clock  the  severed  bar 
hung  by  threads,  while  the  well  greased  lazo  lay  coiled  on  the 
sill.  Nine  o'clock  brought  the  sentinel,  who  began  his  customary 
tramp  with  great  regularity,  but  broke  forth  in  a  drinklug  song 
as  soon  as  the  sergeant  was  out  of  hearing. 

So  impatient  were  my  comrades  for  escape,  that  they  declined 
waiting  till  the  appointed  hour  of  eleven,  and,  at  ten,  ranged 
themselves  along  the  floor,  with  the  end  of  the  rope  firmly 
grasped,  ready  for  a  strong  and  sudden  pull,  while  the  intrepid 
Gerniaine  stood  by,  bar  in  hand,  ready  to  strike,  if  ncctssary. 
At  a  signal  from  me,  after  I  had  dropped  the  lazo,  they  were  to 
haul  up,  make  fast,  and  follow  us  through  the  aperture  by  a 
longer  rope,  which  was  already  fastened  for  our  descent. 

Softly  the  sash  was  opened,  and,  stretching  my  neck  into  the 
darkness,  I  distinctly  saw,  by  a  bright  star-light,  the  form  of  the 
sentinel,  pacing,  with  staggering  strides,  beneath  the  casement. 
Presently,  he  came  to  a  dead  halt,  at  the  termination  of  a  roulade 
in  his  song,  and,  in  a  wink,  the  lazo  was  over  him.  A  kick  with 
my  heel  served  for  signal  to  the  halliards,  and  up  flew  the  pend- 
ant against  the  window-sill.  But,  alas  !  it  was  not  the  sentinel 
The  noose  had  not  slipped  or  caught  with  sufficient  rapidity,  and 
escaping  the  soldier's  neck,  it  only  grasped  and  secured  his  chako 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  309 

and  musket.  In  an  instant,  I  saw  the  fatal  misfortune,  and, 
clearing  the  weapon,  dropped  M^plumh^  on  the  head  of  the  tipsy 
and  terrified  guardsman.  Its  fall  must  have  stunned  and  pros- 
trated the  poor  fellow,  for  not  a  word  or  groan  escaped  from  the 
court-yard. 


310  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR 


CHAPTEK    XLIX. 

Silent  as  was  the  sentinel  after  the  restoration  of  his  musket,  it 
was,  nevertheless,  unanimously  voted  that  our  enterprise  was  a 
failure.  Accordingly,  the  bar  was  replaced,  the  window  closed, 
our  implements  stowed  in  the  mattresses,  and  ourselves  packed 
beneath  the  blankets,  in  momentary  expectation  of  a  visit  from 
the  jailer  and  military  commander.  We  passed  the  night  in 
feverish  expectation,  but  our  bolts  remained  undrawn. 

Bright  and  early,  with  a  plenteous  breakfast,  appeared  our 
spirited  Spaniards,  and,  as  the  turnkey  admitted  and  locked  them 
in,  they  burst  into  a  fit  of  uproarious  laughter  at  our  maladroit 
adventure.  The  poor  sentinel,  they  said,  was  found,  at  the  end 
of  his  watch,  stretched  on  the  ground  in  a  sort  of  fainting  fit 
and  half  frozen.  He  swore,  in  accounting  for  a  bleeding  skull, 
that  an  invisible  hand  from  the  store-room  beneath  us,  had  dealt 
him  a  blow  that  felled  him  to  the  earth  !  His  story  was  so  silly 
and  maudlin,  that  the  captain  of  the  guard,  who  remembered  the 
festival  and  knew  the  tipsiness  of  the  entire  watch,  gave  no  heed 
to  the  tale,  but  charged  it  to  the  account  of  New  Year  and 
eau  de  vie.  We  were  sadly  jeered  by  the  lasses  for  our  want  of 
pluck,  in  forsaking  the  advantage  fortune  had  thrown  in  our  way, 
and  I  was  specially  charged  to  practise  my  hand  more  carefully 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  311 

with  the  lazo^  when  I  next  got  a  chance  on  the  plantations  of 
Cuba,  or  among  the  vaqueros  of  Mexico. 

As  we  expected  the  daily  visit  from  the  punctual  inspector, 
to  try  our  bars  with  his  iron  rod,  we  hastened  to  secure  our  win- 
dow, and  stuffing  all  the  fissures  with  straw  and  rags,  so  as  almost 
to  exclude  light,  we  complained  bitterly  to  the  official  of  the  cold 
wind  to  which  the  apertures  exposed  us,  and  thus  prevented  him 
from  touching  the  sash.  Besides  this  precaution,  we  thought  it 
best  to  get  rid  of  our  tools  and  cord  in  the  same  way  we  received 
them  ;  and  thus  terminated  our  project  of  escape. 

Soon  after,  I  heard  from  a  relative  in  Paris,  that  my  petition 
had  been  presented  to  Louis  Philippe,  whose  reception  of  it  en- 
couraged a  hope  for  my  pardon.  The  news  somewhat  restored 
us  to  the  good  humor  that  used  to  prevail  in  our  party,  but 
which  had  been  sadly  dashed  since  our  failure.  Even  Mon- 
sieur Germaine,  saw  in  our  anticipated  liberation,  a  phantom  of 
encouragement  for  himself,  and  began  to  talk  confidentially  of 
his  plans.  He  fancied  that  I  had  been  gradually  schooled  into 
a  taste  for  misdemeanor^  so  that  he  favored  me  with  innumerable 
anecdotes  of  swindling,  and  countless  schemes  of  future  robbery. 
By  making  me  an  incipient  accomplice,  he  thought  to  secure  my 
aid  either  for  his  escape  or  release. 

I  will  take  the  liberty  to  record  a  single  specimen  of  Ger- 
maine's  prolific  fancy  in  regard  to  the  higher  grades  of  elegant 
felony,  and  will  leave  him  to  the  tender  mercy  of  the  French 
government,  which  allows  no  bail  for  such  chevaliers  but  chastises 
their  crime  with  an  iron  hand. 

We  had  scarcely  recovered  from  our  trepidation,  when  the 
forger  got  up  one  morning,  with  a  radiant  face,  and  whispered 
that  the  past  night  was  fruitful  to  his  brain,  for  he  had  planned 
an  enterprise  which  would  yield  a  fortune  for  any  two  who  were 
wise  and  bold  enough  to  undertake  it. 

Germaine  was  a  philosophic  felon.  It  was  perhaps  the  trick 
of  an  intellect  naturally  astute,  and  of  a  spirit  originally  refined, 
to  reject  the  vulgar  baseness  of  common  pilfering.  Germaine 
never  stole  or  defrauded ; — he  only  outwitted  and  outgeneralled. 
If  he  spoke  of  the  world,  either  in  politics  or  trade,  he  insisted 


312 


f 


tbat  shams,  forgeries,  and  counterfeits  were  quite  as  much  played 
off  in  the  language,  address  and  dealings  of  statesmen,  merchants, 
parsons,  doctors,  and  lawyers,  as  they  were  by  himself  and  his 
accomplices.  The  only  difference  between  the  felon  and  the 
jury,  he  alleged,  existed  in  the  fact  that  the  jury  was  in  the 
majority  and  the  felon  in  the  vocative.  He  advocated  the  worst 
forms  of  liberty  and  equality ;  he  was  decidedly  in  favor  of  a 
division  of  property,  which  he  was  sure  would  end  what  the  law 
called  crime,  because  all  would  be  supplied  on  the  basis  of  a 
common  balance.  Whenever  he  told  his  ancient  exploits  or  sug- 
gested new  ones,  he  glossed  them  invariably  with  a  rhetorical' 
varnish  about  the  laws  of  nature,  social  contracts,  human  rights, 
vieum  and  tuum  ;  and  concluded,  to  his  perfect  satisfaction, 
with  a  favorite  axiom,  that  "  he  had  quite  as  much  right  to  the 
world's  goods  as  they  who  possessed  them." 

A  hypocritical  farrago  of  this  character  always  prefaced  one 
of  Germaine's  tales,  so  that  I  hardly  ever  interrupted  the  rogue 
when  he  became  fluent  about  social  theories,  but  waited  pa- 
tiently, in  confidence  that  I  was  shortly  to  be  entertained  with 
an  adventure  or  enterprise. 

The  forger  began  his  story  on  this  occasion  with  a  most  fan- 
tastical and  exaggerated  account  of  the  celebrated  Sa?itissima 
Casa  of  Loretto,  which  he  imagined  was  still  endowed  with  all 
the  treasures  it  possessed  anterior  to  its  losses  during  the  pontifi- 
cate of  Pius  VI.  He  asserted  that  it  was  the  richest  tabernacle 
in  Europe,  and  that  the  adornments  of  the  altar  were  valued  at 
several  millions  of  crowns, — the  votive  offerings  and  legacies  of 
devotees  during  a  long  period  of  time. 

This  holy  and  opulent  shrine,  the  professor  of  politico-econo- 
mico-equality  proposed  to  rob  at  some  convenient  period  ;  and, 
to  effect  it,  he  had  "polished"  the  following  plan  during  the 
watches  of  the  night. 

On  some  stormy  day  of  winter,  he  proposed  to  leave  Ancona, 
as  a  traveller  from  South  America,  and  approaching  the  convent 
attached  to  the  church  of  the  Madonna  of  Loretto,  demand  hos- 
pitality for  a  penitent  who  had  made  the  tiresome  pilgrimage  on 
a  vow  to  the  Virgin.     There  could  be  no  doubt  of  his  admission. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  313 

For  three  days  he  would  most  devoutly  attend  matins  and  ves- 
pers, and  crave  permission  to  serve  as  an  acolyte  at  the  altar,  the 
duties  of  which  he  perfectly  understood.  When  the  period  of 
his  departure  arrived,  he  would  be  seized  with  sudden  illness, 
and,  in  all  likelihood,  the  brethren  would  lodge  him  in  their  in- 
firmary. As  his  malady  increased,  he  would  call  a  confessor, 
and,  pouring  into  the  father's  credulous  ear  a  tale  of  woes,  sor- 
rows, superstition  and  humbug,  he  would  make  the  convent  a 
donation  of  all  his  estates  in  South  America,  and  pray  for  a 
remission  of  his  sins  ! 

When  this  corned}^  was  over,  convalescence  should  supervene; 
but  he  would  adhere  with  conscientious  obstinacy  to  his  dying 
gift,  and  produce  documents  showing  the  immense  value  of  the 
bequeathed  property.  Presently,  he  would  be  suddenly  smitten 
with  a  love  for  monastic  life  ;  and,  on  his  knees,  the  Prior  was  to 
be  interceded  for  admission  to  the  brotherhood.  All  this,  pro- 
bably, would  require  time,  as  well  as  playacting  of  the  adroitest 
character  ;  yet  he  felt  confident  he  could  perform  the  drama. 

At  last,  when  a  vow  had  sealed  his  novitiate,  no  one  of 
the  fraternity  should  exceed  him  in  fervent  piety  and  bodily 
mortification.  Every  hour  would  find  him  at  the  altar  before 
the  Virgin,  missal  in  hand,  and  eyes  intent  on  the  glittering 
image.  This  incessant  and  unw^atchcd  devotion,  he  calculated, 
would  enable  him  in  two  months  to  take  an  impression  of  all  the 
locks  in  the  sacristy ;  and,  as  his  confederate  would  call  every 
market-day  at  the  convent  gate,  in  the  guise  of  a  pedler,  he  could 
easily  cause  the  keys  to  be  fabricated  in  different  villages  by 
common  locksmiths. 

Germaine  considered  it  indispensable  that  his  colleague  in 
this  enterprise  should  be  a  sailor  ;  for  the  flight  with  booty  was 
to  be  made  over  sea  from  Ancona.  As  soon,  therefore,  as  the 
keys  were  perfected,  and  in  the  hands  of  the  impostor,  the 
mariner  was  to  cause  a  felucca  to  cruise  off  shore,  in  readiness 
for  immediate  departure.  Then,  at  a  fixed  time,  the  pedler 
should  lurk  near  the  convent,  with  a  couple  of  mules ;  and,  iu 
the  dead  of  night,  the  sacrilege  would  be  accomplished. 
14 


314  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

When  he  finished  his  story,  the  pleasant  villain  rubbed  his 
hands  with  glee,  and  skipping  about  the  floor  like  a  dancing- 
master,  began  to  whistle  "  La  Marseillaise.''''  That  night,  he 
retired  earlier  than  usual,  "  to  polish,"  as  he  said  ;  but  before 
dawn  he  again  aroused  me,  with  a  pull,  and  whispered  a  sudden 
fear  that  his  "  Loretto  masterpiece  "  would  prove  an   abortion  ! 

"  I  have  considered,"  said  he,  "  that  the  Virgin's  jewels  are 
probably  nothing  but  false  stones  and  waxen  pearls  in  pinchbeck 
gold  !  Surely,  those  cunning  monks  would  never  leave  such  an 
amount  of  property  idle,  simply  to  adorn  a  picture  or  statue  ! 
No,  I  am  positive  they  must  have  sold  the  gems,  substituted 
imitations,  and  bought  property  for  their  opulent  convents  !  " — 
As  I  felt  convinced  of  this  fact,  and  had  some  inkling  of  a  recol- 
lection about  losses  during  a  former  reign,  I  was  happy  to  hear 
that  the  swindler's  fancy  had  "  polished"  the  crime  to  absolute 
annihilation. 

And  now  that  I  am  about  to  leave  this  forging  philosopher 
in  prison,  to  mature,  doubtless,  some  greater  act  of  villany,  I 
will  merely  add,  that  when  I  departed,  he  was  constructing  a 
new  scheme,  in  which  the  Emperor  of  Russia  was  to  be  vic- 
tim and  paymaster.  As  my  liberation  occurred  before  the 
finishing  touches  were  given  by  the  artist,  I  am  unable  to  say 
how  it  fared  with  Nicholas ;  but  I  doubt,  exceedingly,  whether 
the  galleys  of  Brest  contained  a  greater  scoundrel,  both  in  deeds 
and  imaginings,  than  the  metaphysical  dandy — Monsieur  Ger- 
maine.^ 

At  length,  my  pardon  and  freedom  came ;  but  this  was  the 
sole  reparation  I  received  at  the  hands  of  Louis  Philippe,  for 
the  unjust  seizure  and  appropriation  of  my  vessel  in  the  neutral 
waters  of  Africa.  When  Sorret  rushed  in,  followed  by  his  wife, 
Babette,  and  the  children,  to  announce  the  glorious  news,  the 

^  I  know  not  what  was  his  fate  ;  but  he  has  probably  long  since  real- 
ized his  dream  of  equality,  though,  in  all  likelihood,  it  was  the  equality 
described  by  old  Patris  of  Caen  : 

"  Ici  tous  sont  egaux ;  je  ne  te  dois  plus  rien : 
Je  Buis  sur  mon  fumier  comme  toi  sur  le  tien  1 " 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  315 

good  fellow's  emotion  was  so  great,  that  he  stood  staring  at  me 
like  a  booby,  and  for  a  long  while  could  not  articulate.  Then 
came  La  Vivandiere  Dolores,  and  my  pretty  Concha.  Next 
arrived  Monsieur  Randanne,  with  the  rest  of  my  pupils  ;  so  that, 
in  an  hour,  I  was  overwhelmed  with  sunshine  and  tears.  I  can 
still  feel  the  grasp  of  Sorret's  hand,  as  he  led  me  beyond  the 
bolts  and  bars,  to  read  the  act  of  royal  grace.  May  we  not  feel 
a  spasm  of  regret  at  leaving  even  a  prison  ? 

Next  day,  an  affectionate  crowd  of  friends  and  pupils  followed 
the  emancipated  slaver  to  a  vessel,  which,  by  order  of  the  king, 
was  to  bear  me,  a  willing  exile,  from  France  for  ever. 


316  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 


CHAPTER    L. 

I  SAID,  at  the  end  of  the  last  chapter,  that  my  friends  bade  adieu 
on  the  quay  of  Brest  to  an  "  emancipated  slaver ;"  for  slaver  I 
was  determined  to  continue,  notwithstanding  the  capture  of  my 
vessel,  and  the  tedious  incarceration  of  my  body.  Had  the  seizure 
and  sentence  been  justly  inflicted  for  a  violation  of  local  or  inter- 
national law,  I  might,  perhaps,  have  become  penitent  for  early 
sins,  during  the  long  hours  of  reflection  afforded  me  in  the  cJia- 
teau.  But,  with  all  the  fervor  of  an  ardent  and  thwarted  nature, 
I  was  much  more  disposed  to  rebel  and  revenge  myself  when 
opportunity  occurred,  than  to  confess  my  sins  with  a  lowly  and 
obedient  heart.  Indeed,  most  of  my  time  in  prison  had  been 
spent  in  cursing  the  court  and  king,  or  in  reflecting  how  I  should 
get  back  to  Africa  in  the  speediest  manner,  if  I  was  ever  lucky 
enough  to  elude  the  grasp  of  the  model  monarch. 

The  vessel  that  bore  me  into  perpetual  banishment  from 
France,  was  bound  to  Lisbon ;  but,  delaying  in  Portugal  only 
long  enough  to  procure  a  new  passport,  under  an  assumed  name, 
I  spat  upon  Louis  Philippe's  "  eternal  exile,"  and  took  shipping 
for  his  loyal  port  of  Marseilles  !  Here  I  found  two  vessels  fit- 
ting for  the  coast  of  Africa ;  but,  in  consequence  of  the  frightful 
prevalence  of  cholera,  all  mercantile  adventures  were  temporarily 
suspended.  In  fact,  such  was  the  panic,  that  no  one  dreamed 
of  despatching  the  vessel  in  which  I  was  promised  a  passage, 
until  the  pestilence  subsided.     Till  this  occurred,  as  my  means 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFillCAN    SLAVER.  317 

were  of  the  scantiest  character,  I  took  lodgings  in  an  humble 
hotel. 

The  dreadful  malady  was  then  apparently  at  its  height,  and 
nearly  all  the  hotels  were  deserted,  for  most  of  the  regular  in- 
habitants had  fled ;  while  the  city  was  unfrequented  by  strangers 
except  under  pressing  duty.  It  is  altogether  probable  that  the 
lodging-houses  and  hotels  would  have  been  closed  entirely,  so 
slight  was  their  patronage,  had  not  the  prefect  issued  an  order, 
depriving  of  their  licenses,  for  the  space  of  two  years,  all  who  shut 
their  doors  on  strangers.  Accordingly,  even  when  the  scourge 
swept  many  hundred  victims  daily  to  their  graves,  every  hotel, 
caffe,  grocery,  butcher  shop,  and  bakery,  was  regularly  opened  in 
Marseilles ;  so  that  a  dread  of  famine  was  not  added  to  the  fear 
of  cholera. 

Of  course,  the  lowly  establishment  where  I  dwelt  was  not 
thronged  at  this  epoch  ;  most  of  its  inmates  or  frequenters  had 
departed  for  the  country  before  my  arrival,  and  I  found  the 
house  tenanted  alone  by  three  boarders  and  a  surly  landlord,  who 
cursed  the  authorities  for  their  compulsory  edict.  My  reception, 
therefore,  was  by  no  means  cordial.  I  was  told  that  the  procla- 
mation had  not  prevented  the  cook  from  departing;  and  that  I 
must  be  content  with  whatever  the  master  of  the  house  could  toss 
up  for  my  fare. 

A  sailor — especially  one  fresh  from  the  chateau  of  Brest, — is 
not  apt  to  be  over  nice  in  the  article  of  cookery,  and  I  readily 
accompanied  my  knight  of  the  rueful  countenance  to  his  table 
(Vkoie^  which  I  found  to  be  a  long  oval  board,  three  fourths  bare 
of  cloth  and  guests,  while  five  human  visages  clustered  around 
its  end. 

I  took  my  seat  opposite  a  trim  dashing  brunette,  with  the 
brightest  eyes  and  rosiest  cheeks  imaginable.  Her  face  was  so 
healthily  refreshing  in  the  midst  of  malady  and  death,  that  I 
altogether  forgot  the  cholera  under  the  charm  of  her  ardent  gaze. 
Next  me  sat  a  comical  sort  of  fellow,  who  did  not  delay  in  scrap- 
ing an  acquaintance,  and  jocularly  insisted  on  introducing  all  the 
company. 

"  It's  a  case  of  emergency,"  said  the  droll,  ''  we  have  no  time 


18  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 


1 


to  lose  or  to  stand  on  the  ceremony  of  fashionable  etiquette. 
Here  to-day,  gone  to-morrow — is  the  motto  of  Marseilles  !  Hola ! 
Messieurs,  shall  we  not  make  the  most  of  new  acquaintances 
when  they  may  be  so  brief  ?  " 

I  thanked  him  for  his  hospitality.  I  had  so  little  to  lose  in 
this  world,  either  of  property  or  friends,  that  I  feared  the  cholera 
quite  as  slightly  as  any  of  the  company.  "  A  thousand  thanks," 
said  I,  "  Monsieur,  for  your  politeness  ;  I'll  bury  you  to-morrow, 
if  it  is  the  cholera's  pleasure,  with  ten  times  more  pleasure  now 
that  I  have  had  the  honor  of  an  introduction.  A  fashionable 
man  hardly  cares  to  be  civil  to  a  stranger — even  if  he  happens  to 
be  a  corpse  !  " 

There  was  so  hearty  a  cheer  at  this  sally,  that,  in  spite  of  the 
shallow  soundings  of  my  purse,  I  called  for  a  fresh  bottle,  and 
pledged  the  party  in  a  bumper  all  round. 

''  And  now,"  continued  ni}''  neighbor,  ''  as  it  may  be  necessary 
for  some  one  of  us  to  write  your  epitaph  in  a  day  or  two,  or,  at 
least,  to  send  a  message  of  condolence  and  sympathy  to  your 
friends  ;  pray  let  us  know  a  bit  of  your  history,  and  what  the  devil 
brings  you  to  Marseilles  when  the  cholera  thermometer  is  up  to 
1000  degrees  per  diem  ?  " 

Very  few  words  were  necessary  to  impart  such  a  name  and 
tale  as  I  chose  to  invent  for  the  company's  edification.  "  Santi- 
ago Ximenes,"  and  my  tawny  skin  betokened  my  nationality  and 
profession,  while  my  threadbare  garments  spoke  louder  than 
words  that  I  was  at  suit  with  Fortune. 

Presently,  after  a  lull  in  the  chat,  a  dapper  little  prig  of  a 
dandy,  who  sat  on  my  left,  volunteered  to  inform  me  that  he  was  no 
less  a  personage  than  le  Docteur  Du  Jean,  a  medical  practitioner 
fresh  from  Metropolitan  hospitals,  who,  in  a  spirit  of  the  loftiest 
philanthropy,  visited  this  provincial  town  at  his  own  expense  to 
succor  the  poor. 

"  Cest  line  belle  dame,  notre  vis  a  vis,  n'est  elle  pas  mon 
cher  P''  said  he  pointing  to  our  patron  saint  opposite. 

I  admitted  without  argument  that  she  was  the  most  charm- 
ing woman  I  ever  saw  out  of  Cuba. 

''  Cest  ma  cMre  amie,''^  whispered  he   confidentially  in  ray 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  319 

ear,  strongly  emphasiziDg  the  \Yord  "  friend  "  and  nodding  very 
knowingly  towards  the  lady  herself.  "  At  the  present  moment 
the  dear  little  creature  is  exclusively  under  my  charge  and  protec- 
tion, for  she  is  en  route  to  join  her  husband,  a  captain  in  the  army 
at  Algiers  ;  but,  alas  !  grace  a  Dicii^  there's  no  chance  of  a  trans- 
port so  long  as  this  cursed  pestilence  blockades  Marseilles  ! 
Do   you   know    the   man    on   your    right  ? — No  !     Bicii !  that's 

the  celebrated  S ,  the  oratorical  advocate    about  w'hom  the 

papers  rang  when  Louis  Philippe  began  his  assault  on  the  press. 
He's  on  his  way  to  Algiers  too,  and  will  be  more  successful  in 
liberalizing  the  Arabs  than  the  French.  That  old  chap  over 
yonder  with  the  snuffy  nose,  the  snuffy  wig,  and  snuffy  coat,  is  a 
grand  speculator  in  horses,  on  his  way  to  the  richest  cavalry  corps 
of  the  army;  and,  as  for  our  mditre  dliolel  at  the  head  of  this 
segment,  iiauvre  diahlc^  you  see  what  he  is  without  a  revelation. 
The  pestilence  has  nearly  used  him  up.  He  sits  half  the  day  in 
his  bureau  on  the  stairs  looking  for  guests  who  never  come,  reading 
the  record  which  adds  no  name,  cursing  the  cholera,  counting  a 
penitential  ave  ^.w^jmter  on  his  rosary,  and  flying  from  the  despair 
of  silence  and  desertion  to  his  pans  to  stew  our  wretched  fare. 
Yo'ila  iiion  Jtcr^  la  carte  de  la.  table  !  le  Cholera  ct  scs  Convives  ! 

If  there  is  a  creature  I  detest  in  the  world  it  is  a  flippant, 
intrusive,  voluntary  youth  wlio  thrusts  his  coversation  and  affairs 
upon  strangers,  and  makes  bold  to  monopolize  their  time  with  his 
unasked  confidence.  Such  persons  are  always  silly  and  vulgar 
pretenders  ;  and  before  Doctor  Du  Jean  got  through  his  descrip- 
tion of  the  lady,  I  had  already  classified  him  among  my  particular 
aversions. 

When  the  doctor  nodded  so  patronizingly  to  the  dame,  and 
spoke  of  his  friendly  protectorate,  I  thought  I  saw  that  the 
quick-witted  w^oman  not  only  comprehended  his  intimation,  but 
denied  it  by  the  sudden  glance  she  gave  me  from  beneath  her 
thin  and  arching  eyebrows.  So,  when  dinner  was  over,  witliout 
saying  a  word  to  the  doctor,  I  made  a  slight  inclination  of  the 
head  to  jMadame  Duprez,  and  rising  before  the  other  guests, 
passed  to  her  side  and  tendered  my  arm  for  a  promenade  on  the 
balcony. 


320 


OR, 


"  Mon  docteur^'"  said  I  as  we  left  the  room,  "  life,  you  know, 
is  too  short  and  precarious  to  suffer  a  nionoply  of  such  blessincrs," 
— looking  intently  into  the  lady's  eyes, — "  besides  which,  we 
sailors,  in  defiance  of  you  landsmen,  go  in  for  the  most  '  perfect 
freedom  of  the  seas,'  " 

Madame  Duprez  declared  I  was  entirely  right ;  that  I  was  no 
pirate. — '^  Mais,  mon  capitaine,"  said  the  fair  one,  as  she  leaned 
with  a  fond  pressure  on  my  arm,  "  I'd  have  no  objection  if  you  were, 
so  that  you'd  capture  me  from  that  frightful  gallipot !  Besides,  you 
sailors  are  always  so  gallant  towards  the  ladies,  and  tell  us  such 
delightful  stories,  and  bring  us  such  charming  presents  when  you 
come  home,  and  love  us  so  much  while  you're  in  port,  because 
you  see  so  few  when  you  are  away  !  Now  is'nt  that  a  delightful 
catalogue  raisonn^  of  arguments  why  women  should  love  /cs 
mdtclot.s  ?  " 

"  Pity  then,  madame,"  said  I,  "  that  you  married  a  soldier.'^'' 

"  Ah  !  "  returned  the  ready  dame,  "  /didn't ; — that  was  my 
mother's  match.  In  France,  you  know,  the  old  folks  marry  us ; 
but  we  take  the  liberty  to  love  whomsoever  we  please  !  " 

''  But,  what  of  Monaieur  le  capitaine^  in  the  present  in- 
stance ?  ''  interrupted  I  inquiringly. 

"  Ah  !  fi  done  !  "  said  Madame,  "  what  bad  taste  to  speak  of 
an  absent,  husband  when  you  have  the  liberty  to  talk  with  a 
present  wife  !  " 

In  fact,  the  lovely  Helen  of  this  tavern-Troy  was  the 
dearest  of  coquettes,  whose  fence  of  tongue  was  as  beautiful  a 
game  of  thrust  and  parry  as  I  ever  saw  played  with  Parisian  foils. 
Du  Jean  had  been  horribly  mortified  by  the  contemptuous  manner 
in  which  the  threadbare  Spaniard  bore  off  his  imaginary  prize ; 
and  would  probably  have  assailed  me  on  the  spot,  before  he  knew 
my  temper  or  quality,  had  not  the  lawyer  drawn  him  aside  on  a 
plea  of  medical  advice  and  given  his  inflamed  honor  time  to  cool. 

But  the  wit  of  Madame  Duprez  was  not  so  satisfied  by  a 
single  specimen  of  our  mutual  folly,  as  to  allow  the  surgeon  tc 
resume  the  undisputed  post  of  cavaliere  serviente  which  he  oc 
cupied  before  my  arrival.  It  was  her  delight  to  see  us  at  logger- 
heads for  her  favor,  and  though  we  were  both  aware  of  her  arrant 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER,  32 1 

coquetry,  neither  had  moral  courage  enough,  in  that  dismal  time, 
to  desist  from  offering  the  most  servile  courtesies.  AVe  mined 
and  countermined,  marched  and  counter-marched,  deceived  and 
re-deceived,  for  several  days,  without  material  advantage  to  either, 
till,  at  last,  the  affair  ended  in  a  battle. 

The  prefecture's  bulletin  announced  at  dinner-time  twelve 
hundred  deaths  !  but,  in  spite  of  the  horror,  or  perhaps  to  drown 
its  memory,  our  undiminished  party  called  for  several  more  bot- 
tles, and  became  uproariously  gay. 

The  conversation  took  a  physiological  turn ;  and  gradually 
the  modern  science  of  phrenology,  which  was  just  then  becoming 
fashionable,  came  on  the  carpet.  Doctor  Du  Jean  professed 
familiarity  with  its  mysteries.  Spurzheim,  he  said,  had  been  his 
professor  in  Paris.  He  could  read  our  characters  on  our  skulls 
as  if  they  were  written  in  a  book.  Powers,  passions,  propensi- 
ties, and  even  thoughts,  could  not  be  hidden  from  him  ; — and, 
"  who  dared  try  his  skill  ?  " 

"  C'eat  moi !  "  said  Madame  Duprez,  as  she  drew  her  chair 
to  the  centre  of  the  room,  and  accepting  the  challenge,  cast  loose 
her  beautiful  hair,  which  fell  in  a  raven  torrent  over  snowy  neck 
and  shoulders,  heightening  tenfold  every  charm  of  face  and 
figure. 

Du  Jean  was  nothing  loth  to  commence  his  tender  manipula- 
tion of  the  charming  head,  wliose  wicked  mouth  and  teasing  eyes 
shot  glances  of  defiance  at  me.  Several  organs  were  disclosed 
and  explained  to  the  company ;  but  then  came  others  which  he 
ventured  to  whisper  in  her  ears  alone,  and,  as  he  did  so,  I  noticed 
that  his  mouth  was  pressed  rather  deeper  than  I  thought  needful 
among  the  folds  of  her  heavy  locks.  I  took  the  liberty  to  hint 
rather  jestingly  that  the  doctor  "  cut  quite  too  deep  with  his 
lips ;  "  but  the  coquette  at  once  saw  my  annoyance,  and  persisted 
with  malicious  delight  in  making  Du  Jean  whisper — heaven 
knows  what — in  her  ear.  In  fact,  she  insisted  that  some  of  the 
organs  should  be  repeated  to  her  three  or  four  times  over,  while, 
at  each  rehearsal,  the  doctor  grew  bolder  in  his  dives  among  the 
curls,  and  the  lady  louder  and  redder  in  her  merriment. 

At  last,  propriety  required  that  the  scene  should  be  closed, 
14^ 


322  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 


i 


and  no  one  knew  better  than  this  arch  coquette  the  precise  limit 
of  decency's  bounds.  Next  came  the  lawyer's  cranium  ;  then 
followed  the  horse-jockej  and  tavern-keeper ;  and  finally,  it  was 
my  turn  to  take  the  stool, 

I  made  every  objection  I  could  think  of  against  submitting 
to  inspection,  for  I  was  sure  the  surgeon  had  wit  enough  not  to 
lose  so  good  a  chance  of  quizzing  or  ridiculing  me  ;  but  a  whis- 
pered word  from  Madame  forced  an  assent,  with  the  stipulation 
that  Du  Jean  should  allow  me  to  examine  his  skull  afterwards, 
pretending  that  if  he  had  studied  with  Spurzheim,  I  had  learned 
the  science  from  Gall. 

The  doctor  accepted  the  terms  and  began  his  lecture.  First 
of  all  my  Jealousy  was  enormous,  and  only  equalled  by  my  Con- 
ceit and  Envy.  I  was  altogether  destitute  of  Love,  Friendship, 
or  the  Moral  sentiments.  I  was  an  immoderate  wine-bibber ; 
extremely  avaricious  ;  passionate,  revengeful,  and  blood-thirsty ; 
in  fine,  I  was  a  monstrous  conglomerate  of  every  thing  devilish 
and  dreadful.  The  first  two  or  three  essays  of  the  doctor  amused 
the  company  and  brought  down  a  round  of  laughter  ;  but  as  he 
grew  coarser  and  coarser,  I  saw  the  increasing  disgust  of  our 
comrades  by  their  silence,  though  I  preserved  my  temper  most 
admirably  till  he  was  done.  Then  I  rose  slowly  from  the  seat, 
and  pointing  the  doctor  silently  to  the  vacant  chair, — for  I  could 
not  speak  with  rage, — I  took  my  stand  immediately  in  front  of 
him,  gazing  intently  into  his  eyes.  The  company  gathered 
eagerly  round,  expecting  I  would  retaliate  wittily,  or  pay  him 
back  in  his  coin  of  abuse. 

After  a  minute's  pause  I  regained  my  power  of  speech,  and 
inquired  whether  the  phrenologist  was  ready.  He  replied  affirm- 
atively ;  whereupon  my  right  hand  discovered  the  bump  of  im- 
pudence with  a  tremendous  slap  on  his  left  cheek,  while  my  left 
hand  detected  the  organ  of  blackguardism  with  equal  prominence 
on  his  right ! 

It  was  natural  that  this  new  mode  of  scientific  investigation 
was  as  novel  and  surprising  as  it  was  disagreeable  to  poor  Du 
Jean  ;  for,  in  an  instant,  we  were  exchanging  blows  with  intense 
zeal,  and  would  probably  have  borrowed  a  couple  of  graves  from 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  323 

the  cholera,  had  not  the  boarders  interfered.  All  hands,  how- 
ever, were  unanimous  in  my  favor,  asserting  that  Du  Jean  had 
provoked  me  beyond  endurance  ;  and,  as  la  belle  Duprez  joined 
heartily  in  the  verdict,  the  doctor  gave  up  the  contest,  and,  ever 
after,  "  cut  "  the  lady. 


24  CAPTAIN    CA^'OT  ;    OR, 


CHAPTER    LI. 

In  the  first  lull  of  the  jDestilence,  the  French  merchantman  was 
despatched  from  Marseilles,  and,  in  twenty-seven  days,  I  had  the 
pleasure  to  shake  hands  with  the  generous  friends,  who,  two 
years  before,  labored  so  hard  for  my  escape.  The  colonial  gov- 
ernment soon  got  wind  of  my  presence  notwithstanding  my  dis- 
guise, and  warning  me  from  Goree,  cut  short  the  joys  of  an 
African  welcome. 

I  reached  Sierra  Leone  in  time  to  witness  the  arbitrary  pro- 
ceeding of  the  British  government  towards  Spanish  traders  and 
coasters,  by  virtue  of  the  treaty  for  the  suppression  of  the  slave 
trade.  Six  months  after  this  compact  was  signed  and  ratified  in 
London  and  Madrid,  it  was  made  known  with  the  proverbial  des- 
patch of  Spain,  in  the  Islands  of  Cuba  and  Porto  Rico.  Its  stipu- 
lations were  such  as  to  allow  very  considerable  latitude  of  judg- 
ment in  captures ;  and  when  prizes  were  once  within  the  grasp 
of  the  British  lion,  that  amiable  animal  was  neither  prompt  to  re- 
lease nor  anxious  to  acquit.  Accordingly,  when  I  reached  Sierra 
Leone,  I  beheld  at  anchor  under  government  guns,  some  thirty 
or  forty  vessels  seized  by  cruisers,  several  of  which  I  have  reason 
to  believe  were  captured  in  the  "  Middle  Passage,"  bound  from 
Havana  to  Spain,  but  entirely  free  from  the  taint  or  design  of 
slavery. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  325 

I  was  not  so  inquisitive  or  patriotic  in  regard  to  treaty  rights 
and  violations,  as  to  daily  from  mere  curiosity  in  Sierra  Leone. 
My  chief  object  was  employment.  At  twenty-eight,  after  trials, 
hazards,  and  chances  enough  to  have  won  half  a  dozen  fortunes, 
I  was  utterly  penniless.  The  Mongo  of  Kambia, — the  Mahometan 
convert  of  Ahmah-de-Bellah, — the  pet  of  the  Ali-mami  of  Footha 
Yallon, — the  leader  of  slave  caravans, — the  owner  of  barracoons, 
— and  the  bold  master  of  clippers  that  defied  the  British  flag, 
was  reduced  to  the  humble  situation  of  coast-pilot  and  interpre- 
ter on  board  an  American  brig  bound  to  the  celebrated  slave 
mart  of  Gallinas  !  We  reached  our  destination  safely  ;  but  I 
doubt  exceedingly  whether  the  "  Reaper's  "  captain  knows  to  this 
day  that  his  brig  was  guided  by  a  marine  adventurer,  who  knew 
nothing  of  the  coast  or  port  save  the  little  he  gleaned  in  half  a 
dozen  chats  with  a  Spaniard,  who  was  familiar  with  this  noto- 
rious resort  and  its  surroundings. 

In  the  history  of  African  servitude,  no  theatre  of  Spanish, 
Portuguese,  British,  or  American  action  has  been  the  scene  of 
more  touching,  tragic,  and  inofitahle  incidents  than  the  one  to 
which  fortune  had  now  directed  my  feet. 

Before  the  generous  heart  and  far-seeing  mind  of  America 
perceived  hi  Colonization  the  true  secret  of  Africa's  hope,  the 
whole  of  its  coast,  from  the  Rio  Gambia  to  Cape  Palmas,  with- 
out a  break  except  at  Sierra  Leone,  was  the  secure  haunt  of  dar- 
ing slavers.  The  first  impression  on  this  lawless  disposal  of  full 
fifteen  hundred  miles  of  beach  and  continent,  was  made  by  the 
bold  establishment  of  Liberia ;  and,  little  by  little  has  its  power 
extended,  until  treaty,  purchase,  negotiation,  and  influence,  drove 
the  trade  from  the  entire  region.  After  the  firm  establishment 
of  this  colony,  the  slave  trade  on  the  windward  coast,  north  and 
west  of  Cape  Palmas,  was  mainly  confined  to  Portuguese  settle- 
ments at  Bissaos,  on  the  Rios  Grande,  Nunez,  and  Pongo,  at 
Grand  and  Little  Bassa,  New  Sestros  and  Trade-town ;  but  the 
lordly  establishment  at  Gallinas  was  the  heart  of  the  slave  marts, 
to  which,  in  fact,  Cape  Mesurado  w\as  only  second  in  impor- 
tance. 

Our   concern  is   now  with   Gallinas.     Nearly  one  hundred 


326  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

miles  northwest  of  Monrovia,  a  short  and  sluggij^h  river,  bearing 
this  well-known  name,  oozes  lazily  into  the  Atlantic  ;  and,  carry- 
ing down  in  the  rainy  season  a  rich  alluvion  from  the  interior, 
sinks  the  deposit  where  the  tide  meets  the  Atlantic,  and  forms 
an  innumerable  mesh  of  spongy  islands.  To  one  who  approaches 
from  sea,  they  loom  up  from  its  surface,  covered  with  reeds  and 
mangroves,  like  an  immense  field  of  fungi,  betokening  the  damp 
and  dismal  field  which  death  and  slavery  have  selected  for  their 
grand  metropolis.  A  spot  like  this,  possessed,  of  course,  no  pe- 
culiar advantages  for  agriculture  or  commerce  ;  but  its  dangerous 
bar,  and  its  extreme  desolation,  fitted  it  for  the  haunt  of  the  out- 
law and  slaver. 

Such,  in  all  likelihood,  were  the  reasons  that  induced  Don 
Pedro  Blanco,  a  well-educated  mariner  from  Malaga,  to  select 
Gallinas  as  the  field  of  his  operations.  Don  Pedro  visited  this 
place  originally  in  command  of  a  slaver ;  but  failing  to  complete 
his  cargo,  sent  his  vessel  back  with  one  hundred  negroes,  whose 
value  was  barely  sufiicient  to  pay  the  mates  and  crew.  Blanco, 
however,  remained  on  the  coast  with  a  portion  of  the  Conquista- 
dor's cargo,  and,  on  its  basis,  began  a  trade  with  the  natives  and 
slaver-captains,  till,  four  years  after,  he  remitted  his  owners  the 
product  of  their  merchandise,  and  began  to  flourish  on  his  own 
account.  The  honest  return  of  an  investment  long  given  over  as 
lost,  was  perhaps  the  most  active  stimulant  of  his  success,  and 
for  many  years  he  monopolized  the  traffic  of  the  Vey  country, 
reaping  enormous  profits  from  his  enterprise. 

Gallinas  was  not  in  its  prime  when  I  came  thither,  yet  enough 
of  its  ancient  power  and  influence  remained  to  show  the  compre- 
hensive mind  of  Pedro  Blanco.  As  I  entered  the  river,  and 
wound  along  through  the  labyrinth  of  islands,  I  was  struck,  first 
of  all,  with  the  vigilance  that  made  this  Spaniard  stud  the  field 
with  lookout  seats,  protected  from  sun  and  rain,  erected  some 
seventy-five  or  hundred  feet  above  the  ground,  either  on  poles  or 
on  isolated  trees,  from  which  the  horizon  was  constantly  swept 
by  telescopes,  to  announce  the  approach  of  cruisers  or  slavers. 
These  telegraphic  operators  were  the  keenest  men  on  the  islands, 
who  were  never  at  fault,  in  discriminating  between  friend  and  foe. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  327 

About  a  mile  from  the  river's  mouth  we  found  a  group  of  islets, 
on  each  of  which  was  erected  the  factory  of  some  particuLir  slave- 
merchant  belonging  to  the  grand  confederacy.  Blanco's  estab- 
lishments were  ou  several  of  these  marshy  flats.  On  one,  near 
the  mouth,  he  had  his  place  of  business  or  trade  with  foreign  ves- 
sels, presided  over  by  his  principal  clerk,  an  astute  and  clever 
gentleman.  On  another  island,  more  remote,  was  his  residence, 
where  the  only  white  person  was  a  sister,  who,  for  a  while,  shared 
with  Don  Pedro  his  solitary  and  penitential  domain.  Here  this 
man  of  education  and  refined  address  surrounded  himself  with 
every  luxury  that  could  be  purchased  in  Europe  or  the  Indies, 
and  dwelt  in  a  sort  of  oriental  but  semi-barbarous  splendor,  that 
suited  an  African  prince  rather  than  a  Spanish  grandee.  Fur- 
ther inland  was  another  islet,  devoted  to  his  seraglio,  within 
whose  recesses  each  of  his  favorites  inhabited  her  separate  estab- 
lishment, after  the  fashion  of  the  natives.  Independent  of  all 
these  were  other  islands,  devoted  to  the  barracoons  or  slave-pri- 
sons, ten  or  twelve  of  which  contained  from  one  hundred  to  five 
hundred  slaves  in  each.  These  barracoons  were  made  of  rough 
staves  or  poles  of  the  hardest  trees,  four  or  six  inches  in  diame- 
ter, driven  five  feet  in  the  ground,  and  clamped  together  by 
double  rows  of  iron  bars.  Their  roofs  were  constructed  of  simi- 
lar wood,  strongly  secured,  and  overlaid  with  a  thick  thatch  of 
long  and  wiry  grass,  rendering  the  interior  both  dry  and  cool. 
At  the  ends,  watch-houses — built  near  the  entrance — were  ten- 
anted by  sentinels,  with  loaded  muskets.  Each  barracoon  was 
tended  by  two  or  four  Spaniards  or  Portuguese  ;  but  I  have 
rarely  met  a  more  wretched  class  of  human  beings,  upon  whom 
fever  and  dropsy  seemed  to  have  emptied  their  vials. 

Such  were  the  surroundings  of  Don  Pedro  in  1836,  when  I 
first  saw  his  slender  figure,  swarthy  face,  and  received  the  graceful 
welcome,  which  I  hardly  expected  from  one  who  had  passed  fif- 
teen years  without  crossing  the  bar  of  Gallinas  !  Three  years 
after  this  interview,  he  left  the  coast  for  ever,  with  a  fortune  of 
near  a  million.  For  a  while,  he  dwelt  in  Havana,  engaged  in 
commerce ;  but  I  understood  that  family  difficulties  induced  him 
to  retire  altogether  from  trade  ;  so  that,  if  still  alive,  he  is  prob- 


328  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ",    OR, 


ably  a  resident  of  "  Geneva  la  Superba,"  whither  he  went  from 
the  island  of  Cuba. 

The  power  of  this  man  among  the  natives  is  well  known  ;  it 
far  exceeded  that  of  Cha-cha,  of  whom  I  have  already  spoken. 
Resolved  as  he  was  to  be  successful  in  traffic,  he  left  no  means 
untried,  with  blacks  as  well  as  whites,  to  secure  prosperity.  I 
have  often  been  asked  what  was  the  character  of  a  mind  which 
could  voluntarily  isolate  itself  for  near  a  lifetime  amid  the  pesti- 
lential swamps  of  a  burning  climate,  trafficking  io  human  flesh, 
exciting  wars,  bribing  and  corrupting  ignorant  negroes ;  totally 
without  society,  amusement,  excitement,  or  change  ;  living,  from 
year  to  year,  the  same  dull  round  of  seasons  and  faces ;  without 
companionship,  save  that  of  men  at  war  with  law  ;  cut  loose  from 
all  ties  except  those  which  avarice  formed  among  European  out- 
casts who  were  willing  to  become  satellites  to  such  a  luminary 
as  Don  Pedro  ?  I  have  always  replied  to  the  question,  that  this 
African  enigma  puzzled  me  as  well  as  those  orderly  and  syste- 
matic persons,  who  would  naturally  be  more  shocked  at  the 
tastes  and  prolonged  career  of  a  resident  slave-factor  in  the 
marshes  of  Gallinas. 

I  heard  many  tales  on  the  coast  of  Blanco's  cruelty,  but  I 
doubt  them  quite  as  much  as  I  do  the  stories  of  his  pride  and 
arrogance.  I  have  heard  it  said  that  he  shot  a  sailor  for  daring 
to  ask  him  for  permission  to  light  his  cigar  at  the  piiro  of  the 
Don.  Upon  another  occasion,  it  is  said  that  he  was  travelling 
the  beach  some  distance  from  Gallinas,  near  the  island  of  Sher- 
bro,  where  he  was  unknown,  when  he  approached  a  native  hut  for 
rest  and  refreshment.  The  owner  was  squatted  at  the  door,  and, 
on  being  requested  by  Don  Pedro  to  hand  him  fire  to  light  his 
cigar,  deliberately  refused.  In  an  instant  Blanco  drew  back, 
seized  a  carabine  from  one  of  his  attendants,  and  slew  the  negro 
on  the  spot.  It  is  true  that  the  narrator  apologized  for  Don 
Pedro,  by  saying,  that  to  deny  a  Castilian^re/or  his  tobacco  was 
the  gravest  insult  that  can  be  offered  him  ;  yet,  from  my  know- 
ledge of  the  person  in  question,  I  cannot  believe  that  he  carried 
etiquette  to  so  frightful  a  pitch,  even  among  a  class  whose  lives 
are  considered  of  trifling  value  excejpt  in  market.     On  several 


\ 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  329 

occasions,  during  our  subsequent  intimacy,  I  knew  him  to  chas- 
tise with  rods,  even  to  the  brink  of  death,  servants  who  ventured 
to  infringe  the  sacred  limits  of  his  seraglio.  But,  on  the  other 
hand,  his  generosity  was  proverbially  ostentatious,  not  only 
among  the  natives,  whom  it  was  his  interest  to  suborn,  but 
to  the  whites  who  were  in  his  employ,  or  needed  his  kindly 
succor.  I  have  already  alluded  to  his  mental  culture,  which  was 
decidedly  soigne  for  a  Spaniard  of  his  original  grade  and  time. 
His  memory  was  remarkable.  I  remember  one  night,  while  sev- 
eral of  his  employes  were  striving  unsuccessfully  to  repeat  the 
Lord's  prayer  in  Latin,  upon  which  they  had  made  a  bet,  that 
Don  Pedro  joined  the  party,  and  taking  up  the  wager,  went 
through  the  petition  without  faltering.  It  was,  indeed,  a  sad 
parody  on  prayer  to  hear  its  blessed  accents  fall  perfectly  from 
such  lips  on  a  bet ;  but  when  it  was  won,  the  slaver  insisted  on 
receiving  tlie  slave  ivhich  was  the  stake,  and  immediately'  be- 
stowed him  in  charity  on  a  captain,  who  had  fallen  into  the 
clutches  of  a  British  cruiser  ' 

Such  is  a  rude  sketch  of  the  great  man-merchant  of  Africa, 
the  Rothschild  of  slavery,  whose  bills  on  England,  France,  or  the 
United  States,  were  as  good  as  gold  in  Sierra  Leone  and  Mon- 
rovia ! 


330  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 


CHAPTEil    LII. 

The  day  after  our  arrival  within  the  realm  of  this  great  spider, — 
who,  throned  in  the  centre  of  his  mesh,  was  able  to  catch  almost 
every  fly  that  flew  athwart  the  web, — I  landed  at  one  of  the 
minor  factories,  and  sold  a  thousand  quarter  kegs  of  powder  to 
Don  Jose  Ramon.  But,  next  day,  when  I  proceeded  in  my  ca- 
pacity of  interpreter  to  the  establishment  of  Don  Pedro,  I  found 
his  Castilian  plumage  ruffled,  and,  though  we  were  received  with 
formal  politeness,  he  declined  to  purchase,  because  we  had  failed 
to  address  hbn  in  advance  of  any  other  factor  on  the  river. 

The  folks  at  Sierra  Leone  dwelt  so  tenderly  on  the  generous 
side  of  Blanco's  character,  that  I  was  still  not  without  hope  that 
I  might  induce  him  to  purchase  a  good  deal  of  our  rum  and 
tobacco,  which  would  be  drugs  on  our  hands  unless  he  consented 
to  relieve  us,  I  did  not  think  it  altogether  wrong,  therefore,  to 
concoct  a  little  ruse  whereby  I  hoped  to  touch  the  pocket  through 
the  breast  of  the  Don.  In  fact,  I  addressed  him  a  note,  in  which 
I  truly  related  my  recent  mishaps,  adventures,  and  imprison- 
ments ;  but  I  concluded  the  narrative  with  a  hope  that  he  would 
succor  one  so  destitute  and  unhappy,  by  allowing  him  to  win  an 
honest  commission  allowed  by  the  American  captain  on  any  sales 
I   could   efi"ect.     The  bait   took  ;  a  prompt,  laconic   answer  re- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  331 

turned  ;  I  was  bidden  to  come  ashore  with  the  invoice  of  our 
cargo  ;  and, /or  my  sake^  Don  Pedro  purchased  from  the  Yankee 
brig  $5000  worth  of  rum  and  tobacco,  all  of  which  was  paid  by 
drafts  on  London,  of  which  slaves  were,  of  course^  the  original 
basis  f  My  imaginary  commissions,  however,  remained  in  the 
purse  of  the  owners. 

An  accident  occurred  in  landing  our  merchandise,  which  will 
serve  to  illustrate  the  character  of  Blanco.  While  the  hogs- 
heads of  tobacco  were  discharging,  our  second  mate,  who  suffered 
from  strabismus  more  painfully  than  almost  any  cross-eyed  man 
I  ever  saw,  became  excessively  provoked  with  one  of  the  native 
boatmen  who  had  been  employed  in  the  service.  It  is  probable 
that  the  negro  was  insolent,  which  the  mate  thought  proper  to 
chastise  by  throwing  staves  at  the  Krooman's  head.  The  negro 
fled,  seeking  refuge  on  the  other  side  of  his  canoe  ;  but  the  en- 
raged officer  continued  the  pursuit,  and,  in  his  double-sighted 
blundering,  ran  against  an  oar  which  the  persecuted  black  sud- 
denly lifted  in  self  defence.  I  know  not  whether  it  was  rage  or 
blindness,  or  both  combined,  that  prevented  the  American  from 
seeing  the  blade,  but  on  he  dashed,  rushing  impetuously  against 
the  implement,  severing  his  lip  with  a  frightful  gash,  and  knock- 
ing four  teeth  from  his  upper  jaw. 

Of  course,  the  luckless  negro  instantly  fled  to  "  the  bush ;  " 
and,  that  night,  in  the  agony  of  delirium,  caused  by  fever  and 
dreaded  deformity,  the  mate  terminated  his  existence  by  lauda- 
num. 

The  African  law  condemns  the  man  who  draws  blood  to  a 
severe  fine  in  slaves,  proportioned  to  the  harm  that  may  have 
been  inflicted.  Accordingly,  the  culprit  Krooman,  innocent  as 
he  was  of  premeditated  evil,  now  lay  heavily  loaded  with  irons  in 
Don  Pedro's  barracoon,  awaiting  the  sentence  which  the  whites 
in  his  service  already  declared  should  be  death.  "  He  struck  a 
white  !  "  they  said,  and  the  wound  he  inflicted  was  reported  to 
have  caused  that  white  man's  ruin.  But,  luckily,  before  the  sen- 
tence was  executed,  /  came  ashore,  and,  as  the  transaction  oc- 
curred in  my  presence,  I  ventured  to  appeal  from  the  verdict  of 
public  opinion  to  Don  Pedro,  with  the  hope  that  I  might  excul- 


332  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

pate  the  Krooman.  My  simple  and  truthful  story  was  sufficient. 
x\n  order  was  instantly  given  for  the  black's  release,  and,  in 
spite  of  native  chiefs  and  grumbling  whites,  who  were  savagely 
greedy  for  the  fellow's  blood;  Don  Pedro  persisted  in  his  judg- 
ment and  sent  him  back  on  board  the  "  Reaper." 

The  character  manifested  by  Blanco  on  this  occasion,  and 
the  admirable  management  of  his  factor}^,  induced  me  to  seize  a 
favorable  moment  to  oflPer  my  services  to  flie  mighty  trader. 
They  were  promptly  accepted,  and  in  a  short  time  I  was  em- 
ployed as  2^ri)icipal  in  one  of  Don  Pedro's  branches. 

The  Vey  natives  on  this  river  and  its  neighborhood  were  not 
numerous  before  the  establishment  of  Spanish  factories,  but  since 
1813,  the  epoch  of  the  arrival  of  several  Cuban  vessels  with  rich 
merchandise,  the  neighboring  tribes  flocked  to  the  swampy  flats, 
and  as  there  was  much  similarity  in  the  language  and  habits  of 
the  natives  and  emigrants,  they  soon  intermarried  and  mingled  in 
ownership  of  the  soil. 

In  proportion  as  these  upstarts  were  educated  in  slave-trade 
under  the  influence  of  opulent  factors,  they  greedily  acquired  the 
habit  of  hunting  their  own  kind  and  abandoned  all  other  occupa- 
tions but  war  and  kidnapping.  As  the  country  was  prolific  and 
the  trade  profitable,  the  thousands  and  tens  of  thousands  annu- 
ally sent  abroad  from  Gallinas,  soon  began  to  exhaust  the  neigh- 
borhood ;  but  the  appetite  for  plunder  was  neither  satiated  nor 
stopped  by  distance,  when  it  became  necessary  for  the  neighbor- 
ing natives  to  extend  their  forays  and  hunts  far  into  the  interior. 
In  a  few  years  war  raged  wherever  the  influence  of  this  river  ex- 
tended. The  slave  factories  supplied  the  huntsmen  with  powder, 
weapons,  and  enticing  merchandise,  so  that  they  fearlessly  ad- 
vanced against  ignorant  multitudes,  who,  too  silly  to  compre- 
hend the  benefit  of  alliance,  fought  the  aggressors  singly,  and, 
of  course,  became  their  prey. 

Still,  however,  the  demand  increased.  Don  Pedro  and  his 
satellites  had  struck  a  vein  richer  than  the  gold  coast.  His 
flash  barracoons  became  proverbial  throughout  the  Spanish  and 
Portuguese  colonies,  and  his  look-outs  were  ceaseless  in  their 
signals  of  approaching  vessels.     New  factories  were  established, 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  333 

as  brandies,  north  and  south  of  the  parent  den.  Mana-Rock, 
Sherboro,  Siigarei,  Cape  Mount,  Little  Cape  Mount,  and  even 
Digbay,  at  the  door  of  Monrovia,  all  had  depots  and  barracoons 
of  slaves  belonging  to  the  whites  of  Gallinas. 

But  this  prosperity  did  not  endure.  The  torch  of  discord,  in 
a  civil  war  which  was  designed  for  revengeful  murder  rather  than 
slavery,  was  kindled  by  a  black  Paris,  who  had  deprived  his  un- 
cle of  an  Ethiopian  Helen.  Every  bush  and  hamlet  contained 
its  Achilles  and  Ulysses,  and  every  town  rose  to  the  dignity  of 
a  Troy. 

The  geographical  configuration  of  the  country,  as  I  have  de- 
scribed it,  isolated  almost  every  family  of  note  on  various  branches 
of  the  river,  so  that  nearly  all  were  enabled  to  fortify  themselves 
within  their  islands  or  marshy  flats.  The  principal  parties  in  this 
family  feud  were  the  Amarars  and  Shiakars.  Amarar  was  a 
native  of  Shebar,  and,  tlirough  sevoral  generations,  had  Man- 
dingo  blood  in  his  veins; — Shiakar,  born  on  the  river,  consider- 
ed himself  a  noble  of  the  land,  and  being  aggressor  in  this  con- 
flict, disputed  his  prize  with  the  wildest  ferocity  of  a  savage. 
The  whites,  who  are  ever  on  the  watch  for  native  quarrels, 
wisely  refrained  from  partisanship  with  either  of  the  com- 
batants, but  continued  to  purchase  the  prisoners  brought 
to  their  factories  by  both  parties.  Many  a  vessel  bore  across  the 
Atlantic  two  inveterate  enemies  shackled  to  the  same  bolt,  while 
others  niet  on  the  same  deck  a  long-lost  child  or  brother  who 
had  been  captured  in  the  civil  war. 

I  might  fill  a  volume  with  the  narrative  of  this  horrid  con- 
flict before  it  was  terminated  by  the  death  of  Amarar.  For  se- 
veral months  this  savage  had  been  blockaded  in  his  stockade  by 
Shiakar's  warriors.  At  length  a  sortie  became  indispensable  to 
obtain  provisions,  but  the  enemy  were  too  numerous  to  justify 
the  risk.  Upon  this,  Amarar  called  his  soothsayer,  and  required 
him  to  name  a  propitious  moment  for  the  sally.  The  oracle 
retired  to  his  den,  and,  after  suitable  incantations,  declared  that 
the  eff"ort  should  be  made  as  soon  as  the  hands  of  Amarar  were 
stained  in  the  blood  of  his  own  son.  It  is  said  that  the  prophet  in- 
tended the  victim  to  be  a  youthful  son  of  Amarar,  who  had  join- 


334  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

ed  Ins  mother's  family,  and  was  then  distant ;  but  the  impatient 
and  superstitious  savage,  seeing  a  child  of  his  own,  two  years 
old,  at  hand,  when  the  oracle  announced  the  decree,  snatched  the 
infant  from  his  mother's  arms,  threw  it  into  a  rice  mortar,  and, 
with  a  pestle,  mashed  it  to  death ! 

The  sacrifice  over,  a  sortie  was  ordered.  The  infuriate  and 
starving  savages,  roused  by  the  oracle  and  inflamed  by  the 
bloody  scene,  rushed  forth  tumultuously.  Amarar,  armed  with 
the  pestle,  still  warm  and  reeking  with  his  infant's  blood,  was 
foremost  in  the  onset.  The  besiegers  gave  way  and  fled ;  the 
town  was  re-provisioned  ;  the  fortifications  of  the  enemy  demol- 
ished, and  the  soothsayer  rewarded  with  a  slave  for  his  barbarous 
prediction ! 

At  another  time,  Amarar  was  on  the  point  of  attacking  a 
strongly  fortified  town,  when  doubts  were  intimated  of  suc- 
cess. Again  the  wizard  was  consulted,  when  the  mysterious  oracle 
declared  that  the  chief  "  could  not  conquer  till  he  returned  once 
more  to  his  mother's  womhV  That  night  Amarar  committed 
the  blackest  of  incests ;  but  his  party  was  repulsed,  and  the  false 
prophet  stoned  to  death  ! 

These  are  faint  incidents  of  a  savage  drama  which  lasted  se- 
veral years,  until  Amarar,  in  his  native  town,  became  the  prisoner 
of  Shiakar's  soldiery.  Mana,  his  captor,  caused  him  to  be  deca- 
pitated ;  and  while  the  blood  still  streamed  from  the  severed 
neck,  the  monster's  head  was  thrust  into  the  fresh-torn  bowels 
of  his  mother  ! 


TWENTY    YEAKS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVEK.  335 


CHAPTEK    LIII. 

The  first  expedition  upon  which  Don  Pedro  Blanco  despatched 
me  revealed  a  new  phase  of  Africa  to  my  astonished  eyes.  I  was 
sent  in  a  small  Portuguese  schooner  to  Liberia  for  tobacco  ;  and 
here  the  trader  who  had  never  contemplated  the  negro  on  the 
shores  of  his  parent  country  except  as  a  slave  or  a  catcher  of 
slaves,  first  beheld  the  rudiments  of  an  infant  state,  which  in 
time  may  become  the  wedge  of  Ethiopian  civilization.  The  com- 
fortable government  house,  neat  public  warerooms,  large  emigra- 
tion home,  designed  for  the  accommodation  of  the  houseless  ; 
clean  and  spacious  streets,  with  brick  stores  and  dwellings ;  the 
twin  churches  with  their  bells  and  comfortable  surroundings ;  the 
genial  welcome  from  well  dressed  negroes  ;  the  regular  wharves 
and  trim  craft  on  the  stocks,  and  last  of  all,  a  visit  from  a  colored 
collector  with  a  prijited  bill  for  twelve  dollars  "  anchor  dues," 
all  convinced  me  that  there  was,  in  truth,  something  more  in  these 
ebony  frames  than  an  article  of  commerce  and  labor.  I  paid  the 
bill  eagerly, — considering  that  a  document  printed  in  Africa  by 
Negroes,  under  North  American  influence,  would  be  a  curiosity 
among  the  infidels  of  Gallinas  ! 

My  engagements  with  Blanco  had  been  made  on  the  basis 
of  familiarity  with  the  slave-trade  in  all  its  branches,  but  my 
independent  spirit  and  impatient  temper  forbade,  from  the  first, 


33G  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

the  acceptance  of  any  subordinate  position  at  Gallinas.  Accord- 
ingly, as  soon  as  I  returned  from  the  new  Eepubiic,  Don  Pedro 
desired  me  to  prepare  for  the  establishment  of  a  branch  factory, 
under  my  exclusive  control,  at  New  Sestros,  an  independent 
principality  in  the  hands  of  a  Bassa  chief. 

I  lost  no  time  in  setting  forth  on  this  career  of  comparative 
independence,  and  landed  with  the  trading  cargo  provided  for 
me,  at  the  Krooraen's  town,  where  I  thought  it  best  to  dwell  till 
a  factory  could  be  built. 

An  African,  as  well  as  a  white  man,  must  be  drilled  into  the 
traffic.  It  is  one  of  those  things  that  do  not  "  come  by  na- 
ture :  "  yet  its  mysteries  are  acquired,  like  the  mysteries  of  com- 
merce generally,  with  much  more  facility  by  some  tribes  than  others. 
I  found  this  signally  illustrated  by  the  prince  and  people  of  New 
Sestros,  and  very  soon  detected  their  signal  inferiority  to  the 
Soosoos,  Mandingoes,  and  Veys.  For  a  time  their  conduct  was 
so  silly,  arrogant,  and  trifling,  that  I  closed  my  chests  and  broke 
oif  communication.  Besides  this,  the  slaves  they  offered  were 
of  an  inferior  character  and  held  at  exorbitant  prices.  Still,  as 
I  was  commanded  to  purchase  rapidly,  I  managed  to  collect 
about  seventy-five  negroes  of  medium  grades,  all  of  whom  I  de- 
signed sending  to  Gallinas  in  the  schooner  that  was  tugging  at 
her  anchor  off  the  beach. 

At  the  proper  time  I  sent  for  the  black  prince  to  assist  me  in. 
shipping  the  slaves^  and  to  receive  the  head  money  which  was 
his  export  duty  on  my  cargo.  The  answer  to  my  message  was  an 
illustration  of  the  character  and  insolence  of  the  ragamuffins  with 
whom  I  had  to  deal.  "  The  prince,"  returned  my  messenger, 
"  don't  like  your  sauciness,  Don  Teodore,  and  won't  come  till 
you  beg  his  pardon  by  a  present !  " 

It  is  very  true  that  after  my  visit  to  their  republic,  I  began 
to  entertain  a  greater  degree  of  respect  than  was  my  wont,  for 
black  men,  yet  my  contempt  for  the  original,  unmodified  race  was 
so  great,  that  when  the  prince's  son,  a  boy  of  sixteen,  delivered 
this  reply  on  behalf  of  his  father,  I  did  not  hesitate  to  cram  it 
down  his  throat  by  a  back-handed  blow,  which  sent  the  sprig  of 
royalty  bleeding  and  howling  home. 


TWENIY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  337 

It  may  be  easily  imagined  what  was  the  condition  of  the  na- 
tive town  when  the  boy  got  back  to  the  "palace,"  and  told  his 
tale  of  Spanish  boxing.  In  less  than  ten  minutes,  another  mes- 
senger arrived  with  an  order  for  my  departure  from  the  country 
"  before  next  day  at  noon  ;  " — an  order  which,  the  envoy  declared, 
would  be  enforced  by  the  outraged  townsfolk  unless  I  willingly 
complied. 

Now,  I  had  been  too  long  in  Africa  to  tremble  before  a 
negro  prince,  and  though  I  really  hated  the  region,  I  determined 
to  disobey  in  order  to  teach  the  upstart  a  lesson  of  civilized  man- 
ners. Accordingly,  I  made  suitable  preparations  for  resistance, 
and,  when  my  hired  servants  and  harracooniers  fled  in  terror  at 
the  prince's  command,  I  landed  some  whites  from  my  schooner, 
to  aid  in  protecting  our  slaves. 

By  this  time,  my  house  had  been  constructed  of  the  frail  bam- 
boos and  matting  which  are  exclusively  used  in  the  buildings  of 
the  Bassa  country.  I  had  added  a  cane  verandah  or  piazza  to 
mine,  and  protected  it  from  the  pilfering  natives,  by  a  high  pali- 
sade, that  effectually  excluded  all  intruders.  Within  the  area  of 
this  inclosure  was  slung  my  hammock,  and  here  I  ate  my  meals, 
read,  wrote,  and  received  "  Princes  "  as  well  as  the  mob. 

At  nightfall,  I  loaded  twenty-five  muskets,  and  placed  them 
inside  my  sofa,  which  was  a  long  trade-chest.  I  covered  the 
deal-table  with  a  blanket,  beneath  whose  pendent  folds  I  concealed 
a  keg  of  powder  with  the  head  out.  Hard  by,  under  a  broad- 
brimmed  sombrero,  lay  a  pair  of  double-barrelled  pistols.  With 
these  dispositions  of  my  volcanic  armory,  I  swung  myself  asleep 
in  the  hammock,  and  leaving  the  three  whites  to  take  turns  in 
watching,  never  stirred  till  an  hour  after  sunrise,  when  I  was 
roused  by  the  war-drum  and  bells  from  the  village,  announcing 
the  prince's  approach. 

In  a  few  minutes  my  small  inclosure  of  palisades  was  filled 
with  armed  and  gibbering  savages,  while  his  majesty,  in  the  red 
coat  of  a  British  drummer,  but  without  any  trowsers,  strutted 
pompously  into  my  presence.  Of  course,  I  assumed  an  air  of 
humble  civility,  and  leading  the  potentate  to  one  end  of  the  guard- 
ed piazza,  where  he  was  completely  isolated  from  his  people,  I 
15 


338  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR. 

stationed  myself  between  the  table  and  the  sombrero.  Some  of 
the  prince's  relations  attempted  to  follow  him  within  my  inclosure, 
but,  according  to  established  rules,  they  dared  not  advance  be- 
yond an  assigned  limit. 

When  the  formalities  were  over,  a  dead  silence  prevailed  for 
some  minutes.  I  looked  calmly  and  firmly  into  the  prince's  eyes, 
and  waited  for  him  to  speak.  Still  he  was  silent.  At  last,  get- 
ting tired  of  dumb-show,  I  asked  the  negro  if  he  had  "  come  to 
assist  me  in  shipping  my  slavei;  the  sun  is  getting  rather  high," 
said  I,  "  and  we  had  better  begin  without  delay  !  " 

"  Did  you  get  my  message  ?  "  was  his  reply,  "  and  why  haven't 
you  gone  ?  " 

''  Of  course  I  received  your  message,"  returned  I,  "  but  as  I 
came  to  New  Sestros  at  my  leisure,  I  intend  to  go  away  when  it 
suits  me,  Besides  this,  Prince  Freeman,  I  have  no  fear  that  you 
will  do  me  the  least  harm,  especially  as  I  shall  be  hefore  you  in 
any  capers  of  that  sort." 

Then,  by  a  sudden  jerk,  I  threw  off  the  blanket  that  hid  the 
exposed  powder,  and,  with  pistols  in  hand,  one  aimed  at  the  keg 
and  the  other  at  the  king,  I  dared  him  to  give  an  order  for  my 
expulsion. 

It  is  inconceivable  how  moving  this  process  proved,  not  only 
to  Freeman,  but  to  the  crowd  comprising  his  body-guard.  The 
poor  blusterer,  entirely  cut  off  from  his  companions,  was  in  a 
laughable  panic.  His  tawny  skin  became  ashen,  as  he  bounded 
from  his  seat  and  rushed  to  the  extremity  of  the  piazza ;  and,  to 
make  a  long  story  short,  in  a  few  minutes  he  was  as  penitent  and 
humble  as  a  dog. 

I  was,  of  course,  not  unforgiving,  when  Freeman  advanced  to 
the  rail,  and  warning  the  blacks  that  he  had  "  changed  his  mind," 
ordered  the  odorous  crowd  out  of  my  inclosure.  Before  the  ne- 
groes departed,  however,  I  made  him  swear  eternal  fidelity  and 
friendship  in  their  presence,  after  \rhich  I  sealed  the  compact  with 
a  couple  of  demijohns  of  New-England  rum. 

Before  sunset,  seventy-five  slaves  were  shipped  for  me  in  hia 
canoes,  and  ever  after.  Prince  Freeman  was  a  n^odel  monument  of 
the  virtues  of  gunpowder  physic  ! 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  339 


CHxYPTER    LIV. 

The  summary  treatment  of  this  ebony  potentate  convinced  the 
Kroo  and  Fishmen  of  New  Sestros  that  they  would  find  my  break- 
fast parties  no  child's  play.  Bold  bravado  had  the  best  effect  on  the 
adjacent  inland  as  well  as  the  immediate  coast.  The  free  blacks 
not  only  treated  my  person  and  people  with  more  respect,  but 
began  to  supply  me  with  better  grades  of  negroes  ;  so  that  when 
Don  Pedro  found  my  success  increasing,  he  not  only  resolved  to 
establish  a  permanent  factory,  but  enlarged  my  commission  to  ten 
slaves  for  every  hundred  I  procured.  Thereupon,  I  at  once  com- 
menced the  erection  of  buildings  suitable  for  my  personal  comfort 
and  the  security  of  slaves.  I  selected  a  pretty  site  closer  to  the 
beach,  A  commodious  two-story  house,  surrounded  by  double 
verandahs,  was  topped  by  a  look-out  which  commanded  an  ocean- 
view  of  vast  extent,  and  flanked  by  houses  for  all  *the  necessities 
of  a  first-rate  factory.  There  were  stores,  a  private  kitchen,  a 
rice  house,  houses  for  domestic  servants,  a  public  workshop,  a  depot 
for  water,  a  slave-kitchen,  huts  for  single  men,  and  sheds  under 
which  gangs  were  allowed  to  recreate  from  time  to  time  during 
daylight.  The  whole  was  surrounded  by  a  tall  hedge-fence,  thick- 
ly planted,  and  entered  by  a  double  gate,  on  either  side  of  which 
were  long  and  separate  barracoons  for  males  and  females.  The 
entrance  of  each  slave-pen  was  commanded  by  a  cannon,  while  in 
the  centre  of  the  square,  I  left  a  vacant  space,  whereon  I  have 


340 


CAPTAIN    CANOT  1    OR, 


often  seen  seven  hundred  slaves,  guarded  by  half  a  dozen  mus- 
keteers, singing,  drumming  and  dancing,  after  their  frugal  meals. 

It  is  a  pleasant  fancy  of  the  natives,  who  find  our  surnames 
rather  difficult  of  pronunciation,  while  they  know  very  little  of 
the  Christian  calendar,  to  baptize  a  new  comer  with  some  title, 
for  which,  any  chattel  or  merchandise  that  strikes  their  fancy,  is 
apt  to  stand  godfather.  My  exploit  with  the  prince  christened 
me  "Powder"  on  the  spot;  but  when  they  saw  my  magnificent 
establishment,  beheld  the  wealth  of  my  warehouse,  and  heard  the 
name  of  "  store,"  I  was  forthwith  whitewashed  into  "  Storeey 

And  "  Storee^^^  without  occupying  a  legislative  seat  in  Africa, 
was  destined  to  effect  a  rapid  change  in  the  motives  and  pros- 
pects of  that  quarter.  In  a  few  months,  New  Sestros  was  alive. 
The  isolated  beach,  which  before  my  arrival  was  dotted  with  half 
a  dozen  Kroo  hovels,  now  counted  a  couple  of  flourishing  towns, 
whose  inhabitants  were  supplied  with  merchandise  and  labor  in 
my  factory.  The  neighboring  princes  and  chiefs,  confident  of 
selling  their  captives,  struggled  to  the  sea-shore  through  the  track- 
less forest ;  and  in  a  very  brief  period,  Prince  Freeman,  who  "  no 
likee  war  "  over  my  powder-keg,  sent  expedition  after  expedition 
against  adjacent  tribes,  to  redress  imaginary  grievances,  or  to  settle 
old  bills  with  his  great-grandfather's  debtors.  There  was  no  ab- 
solute idea  of  "  extending  the  area  of  freedom,  or  of  territorial 
annexation,"  but  it  was  wonderful  to  behold  how  keen  became  the 
sovereign's  sensibility  to  national  wrongs,  and  how  patriotically 
he  labored  to  vindicate  his  country's  rights.  It  is  true,  this  Afri- 
can metamorphosis  was  not  brought  about  without  some  sacrifice 
of  humanity  ;*still  I  am  confident  that  during  my  stay,  greater 
strides  were  made  towards  modern  civilization  than  during  the 
visit  of  any  other  factor.  When  I  landed  among  the  handful  of 
savages  I  found  them  given  up  to  the  basest  superstition.  All 
classes  of  males  as  well  as  females,  were  liable  to  be  accused  upon 
any  pretext  by  the  ju-ju-men  or  priests,  and  the  dangerous  sawc^- 
wood  potion  was  invariably  administered  to  test  their  guilt  or  in- 
nocence. It  frequently  happened  that  accusations  of  witchcraft 
or  evil  practices  were  purchased  from  these  wretches  in  order  to 
get  rid  of  a  sick  wife,  an  imbecile  parent,  or  an  opulent  relative ; 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  341 

and,  as  the  poisonous  draught  was  mixed  and  graduated  by  theyi(-/i^- 
man^  it  rarely  failed  to  prove  fatal  when  the  drinker's  death  was 
necessary.*  Ordeals  of  this  character  occurred  almost  daily  in  the 
neighboring  country,  of  course  destroying  numbers  of  innocent 
victims  of  cupidity  or  malice.  I  very  soon  observed  the  frequency 
of  this  abominable  crime,  and  when  it  was  next  attempted  in  the 
little  settlement  that  clustered  around  my  factory,  I  respectfully 
requested  that  the  accused  might  be  locked  up  for  safety  in  my 
barracoo7i,  till  the  fatal  liquid  was  prepared  and  the  hour  for  its 
administration  arrived. 

It  will  be  readily  understood  that  the  saucy-wood  beverage, 
like  any  other,  may  be  prepared  in  various  degrees  of  strength,  so 
that  the  operator  has  entire  control  of  its  noxious  qualities.  If 
the  accused  has  friends,  either  to  pay  or  tamper  with  the  medicator, 
the  draft  is  commonly  made  weak  enough  to  insure  its  harmless 
rejection  from  the  culprit's  stomach;  but  when  the  victim  is 
friendless,  time  is  allowed  for  the  entire  venom  to  exude,  and  the 
drinker  dies  ere  he  can  drink  the  second  bowl. 

Very  soon  after  the  offer  of  my  harracoon  as  a  prison  for  the 
accused,  a  Krooman  was  brought  to  it,  accused  of  causing  his 
nephew's  death  by  fatal  incantations.  The  ju-ju  had  been  con- 
sulted and  confirmed  the  suspicion ;  whereupon  the  luckless  negro 
was  seized,  ironed,  and  delivered  to  my  custody. 

Next  day  early  ihejuju-man  ground  his  bark,  mixed  it  with 
water,  and  simmered  the  potion  over  a  slow  fire  to  extract  the 
poison's  strength.  As  I  had  reason  to  believe  that  especial  en 
mity  was  entertained  against  the  imprisoned  uncle,  I  called  at  the 
jtijuh  hovel  while  the  medication  was  proceeding,  and,  with  the 
bribe  of  a  bottle,  requested  him  to  impart  triple  power  to  the 
noxious  draught.  My  own  ju-jtt,  I  said,  had  nullified  his  by 
pronouncing  the  accused  innocent,  and  I  was  exceedingly  anxious 
to  test  the  relative  truth  of  our  soothsayers. 

The  rascal  promised  implicit  compliance,  and  I  hastened  back 

*  Sauci/-wood  is  tlie  reddish  bark  of  the  gedu  tree,  wlucli  ^vhen  ground 
and  mixed  with  water,  makes  a  poisonous  draught,  believed  to  be  infalli- 
ble in  the  detection  of  crime.  It  is,  in  fact,  "a  trial  by  ordeal;"  if  the 
drinker  eurvivcshe  is  innocent,  if  ho  perishe?,  guilty. 


342  CAPTAIN    CAXOT  ;    OR, 

to  the  barracoon  to  await  the  fatal  hour.  Up  to  the  very  mo- 
ment of  the  draught's  administration,  I  remained  alone  with  the 
culprit,  and  administering  a  double  dose  of  tartar-emetic  just 
before  the  gate  was  opened,  I  led  him  forth  loaded  with  irons. 
The  daring  negro,  strong  in  his  truth,  and  confident  of  the  white 
man's  superior  witchcraft,  swallowed  the  draught  without  a  wink, 
and  in  less  than  a  minute,  the  rejected  venom  established  his  in- 
nocence, and  covered  the  African  wizard  with  confusion. 

This  important  trial  and  its  results  were  of  course  noised 
abroad  throughout  so  superstitious  and  credulous  a  community. 
The  released  Krooman  told  his  companions  of  the  "  white-man- 
saucy  wood,"  administered  by  me  in  the  barracoon ;  and,  ever 
afterwards,  the  accused  were  brought  to  my  sanctuary  where  the 
conflicting  charm  of  my  emetic  soon  conquered  the  native  poison 
and  saved  many  a  useful  life.  In  a  short  time  the  malicious 
practice  was  discontinued  altogether 


During  the  favorable  season,  I  had  been  deprived  of  three 
vessels  by  British  cruisers,  and,  for  as  many  months,  had  not 
shipped  a  single  slave, — five  hundred  of  whom  were  now  crowded 
in  my  barracoons^  and  demanded  our  utmost  vigilance  for  safe 
keeping.  In  the  gang,  I  found  a  family  consisting  of  a  man,  his 
wife,  three  children  and  a  sister,  all  sold  under  an  express  obli- 
gation of  exile  and  slavery  among  Christians.  The  luckless 
father  was  captured  by  my  blackguard  friend  Prince  Freeman  in 
person,  and  the  family  had  been  secured  when  the  parents'  vil- 
lage was  subsequently  stormed.  Barrah  was  an  outlaw  and  an 
especial  offender  in  the  eyes  of  an  African,  though  his  faults  were 
hardly  greater  than  the  deeds  that  bestowed  honor  and  knight- 
hood in  the  palmy  days  of  our  ancestral  feudalism.  Barrah  was 
the  discarded  son  of  a  chief  in  the  interior,  and  had  presumed  to 
blockade  the  public  path  towards  the  beach,  and  collect  duties 
from  transient  passengers  or  caravans.  This  interfered  with 
Freeman  and  his  revenues ;  but,  in  addition  to  the  pecuniary 
damage,  the  alleged  robber  ventured  on  several  occasions  to  de- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  343 

feat  and  plunder  the  prince's  vagabonds,  so  that,  in  time,  he  be- 
came rich  and  strong  enough  to  build  a  town  and  fortify  it  with 
a  regular  stockade,  directly  on  the  highway  !  All  these  offences 
were  so  heinous  in  the  sight  of  my  beach  prince,  that  no  foot  was 
suffered  to  cool  till  Barrah  was  captured.  Once  within  his 
power.  Freeman  would  not  have  hesitated  to  kill  his  implacable 
enemy  as  soon  as  delivered  at  New  Sestros;  but  the  interference 
of  friends,  and,  perhaps,  the  laudable  conviction  that  a  live  negro 
was  worth  more  than  a  dead  one,  induced  his  highness  to  sell 
him  under  pledge  of  Cuban  banishment. 

Barrah  made  several  ineffectual  attempts  to  break  my  harra- 
conn  and  elude  the  watchfulness  of  my  guards,  so  that  they  were 
frequently  obliged  to  restrict  his  libert\',  deprive  him  of  com- 
forts, or  add  to  his  shackles.  In  fact,  he  was  one  of  the  most 
formidable  savages  I  ever  encountered,  even  among  the  thou- 
sands who  passed  in  terrible  procession  before  me  in  Africa. 
One  day  he  set  fire  to  the  bamboo-matting  with  which  a  portion 
of  the  barracoon  was  sheltered  from  the  sun,  for  which  he  was 
severely  lashed  ;  but  next  day,  when  allowed,  under  pretence  of 
ague,  to  crawl  with  his  heavy  irons  to  the  kitchen  fire,  he  sud- 
denly dashed  a  brand  into  the  thatch,  and,  seizing  another,  sprang 
towards  the  powder-house,  which  his  heavy  shackles  did  not 
allow  him  to  reach  before  he  was  felled  to  the  earth. 

Freeman  visited  me  soon  afterwards,  and,  in  spite  of  profit 
and  liquor,  insisted  on  taking  the  brutal  savage  back :  but,  in 
the  mean  time,  the  Bassa  chief,  to  whom  my  prince  was  subordi- 
nate, heard  of  Barrah's  attempt  on  my  magazine,  and  demanded 
the  felon  to  expiate  his  crime,  according  to  the  law  of  his  coun- 
try, at  the  stake.  No  argument  could  appease  the  infuriate 
judges,  who  declared  that  a  cruel  death  would  alone  satisfy  the 
people  whose  lives  had  been  endangered  by  the  robber.  Never- 
theless, I  declined  delivering  the  victim  for  such  a  fate,  so  that, 
in  the  end,  we  compromised  the  sentence  by  shooting  Barrah  in 
the  presence  of  all  the  slaves  and  townsfolk, — the  most  uncon- 
cerned spectators  among  whom  were  his  wife  and  sister  ! 


344  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 


CHAPTER    LV. 

There  is  no  riyer  at  the  New  Sestros  settlement,  though  geog- 
raphers, with  their  usual  accuracy  in  African  outlines,  have  often 
projected  one  on  charts  and  maps.  Two  miles  from  the  short 
and  perilous  beach  where  I  built  my  barracoons,  there  was  a 
slender  stream,  which,  in  consequence  of  its  shallow  bed,  and 
narrow,  rock-bound  entrance,  the  natives  call  "  Poor  River;  "  but 
mv  factory  was  at  New  Sestros  proper  ;  and  there,  as  I  have 
said,  there  was  no  water  outlet  from  the  interior;  in  fact,  no- 
thing but  an  embayed  strand  of  two  hundred  yards,  flanked  by 
dangerous  cliffs.  Such  a  beach,  open  to  the  broad  ocean  and  for 
ever  exposed  to  the  full  rage  of  its  storms,  is  of  course  more  or 
less  dangerous  at  all  times  for  landing ;  and,  even  when  the  air 
is  perfectly  calm,  the  common  surf  of  the  sea  pours  inward  with 
tremendous  and  combing  waves,  which  threaten  the  boats  of  all 
who  venture  among  them  without  experienced  skill.  Indeed,  the 
landing  at  New  Sestros  would  be  impracticable  were  it  not  for 
the  dexterous  Kroomen,  whose  canoes  sever  and  surmount  the  bil- 
lows in  spite  of  their  terrific  power, 

Kroomen  and  Fishmen  are  different  people  from  the  Bush- 
men. The  two  former  classes  inhabit  the  seashore  exclusively, 
and  living  apart  from  other  African  tribes,  are  governed  by  their 
elders  under  a  somewhat  democratic  system.  The  Bushmen  do 
not  suffer  the  Kroos  and  Fishes  to  trade  with  the  interior;  but, 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  345 

iu  recompeuse  for  the  monopoly  of  traffic  with  the  strongholds  of 
Africa's  heart,  these  expert  boatmen  maintain  despotic  sway 
along  the-  beach  in  trade  with  the  shipping.  As  European  or 
Yankee  boats  cannot  live  in  the  surf  I  have  described,  the  Kroo 
and  Fishmen  have  an  advantage  over  their  brothers  of  the  Bush, 
as  well  as  over  the  whites,  which  they  are  not  backward  in  using 
to  their  profit.  In  fact,  the  Bushmen  fight,  travel,  steal  and 
trade,  while  the  Kroos  and  Fishes,  who  for  ages  have  fringed  at 
least  seven  hundred  miles  of  African  coast,  constitute  the  mari- 
ners, without  whose  skill  and  boldness  slaves  would  be  drugs  in 
caravans  or  barracoons.  And  this  is  especially  the  case  since 
British,  French,  and  American  cruisers  have  driven  the  traffic 
from  every  nook  and  corner  of  the  west  coast  that  even  resem- 
bled a  harbor^  and  forced  the  slavers  to  lay  in  wait  iu  open 
roadsteads  for  their  prey. 

The  Kroo  canoe,  wedge-like  at  both  ends^  is  hollowed  from 
the  solid  trunk  of  a  tree  to  the  thickness  of  an  inch.  Of  course 
they  are  so  light  and  buoyant  that  they  not  only  lie  like  a  feather 
on  the  surface  of  the  sea,  so  as  to  require  nothing  but  freedom 
from  water  for  their  safety,  but  a  canoe,  capable  of  containing 
four  people,  may  be  borne  on  the  shoulders  of  one  or  two  to  any 
reasonable  distance.  Accordingly,  Kroomen  and  Fishmen  are 
the  prime  pets  of  all  slavers,  traders,  and  men-of-war  that  fre- 
quent the  west  coast  of  Africa ;  while  no  one  dwelling  on  the 
shore,  engaged  in  commerce,  is  particularly  anxious  to  merit  or 
receive  their  displeasure. 

When  I  landed  at  New  Sestros,  I  promptly  supplied  myself 
with  a  little  fleet  of  these  amphibious  natives ;  and,  as  the  news 
of  ray  liberality  spread  north  and  south  along  the  shore,  the 
number  of  my  retainers  increased  with  rapidity.  Indeed,  in  six 
months  a  couple  of  rival  towns, — one  of  Kroos  and  the  other  of 
Fishes, — hailed  me  severally  as  their  "  Commodore  "  and  "  Con- 
sul." "With  such  auxiliaries  constantly  at  hand,  I  rarely  feared 
the  surf  when  the  shipment  of  slaves  was  necessary.  At  Galli- 
nas,  under  the  immediate  eye  of  Don  Pedro,  the  most  elaborate 
care  was  taken  to  secure  an  ample  supply  of  these  people  and 
their  boats,  and  I  doubt  not  that  the  multitude  employed  iu  the 


346  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

establishment's  prime,  could,  at  a  favorable  moment,  despatch 
at  least  a  thousand  slaves  within  the  space  of  four  hours.  Yet 
I  have  heard  from  Kroomen  at  Gallinas  the  most  harrowing  tales 
of  disaster  connected  with  the  shipment  of  negroes  from  that 
perilous  bar.  Even  in  the  dry  season,  the  mouth  of  this  river  is 
frequently  dangerous,  and,  with  all  the  adroitness  they  could 
display,  the  Kroos  could  not  save  boat  load  after  boat  load  from 
becoming  food  for  the  ravenous  sharks  ! 

I  was  quite  afloat  at  New  Sestros  on  the  tide  of  success,  when 
the  cruiser  that  for  a  while  bad  annoyed  me  with  a  blockade,  be- 
came short  of  food,  and  was  obliged  to  bear  away  for  Sierra  Leone. 
My  well  paid  spy- — a  Krooman  who  had  been  employed  by  the 
cruiser — soon  apprised  me  of  the  brig's  departure  and  its  cause ; 
so  that  in  an  hour  the  beach  was  in  a  bustle,  despatching  a  swift 
canoe  to  Gallinas  with  a  message  to  Don  Pedro  : — "  The  coast  is 
clear  : — send  me  a  vessel  : — relieve  my  plethora  !  " 

Forty-eight  hours  were  hardly  over  when  the  twin  masts  of  a 
clipper  brig  were  seen  scraping  along  the  edge  of  the  horizon, 
with  the  well-known  sigTial  for  '*  embarkation."  I  was  undoubt- 
edly prepared  to  welcome  my  guest,  for  Kroos,  Fishes,  Bushmen, 
Bassas  and  all,  had  been  alert  since  daybreak,  ready  to  hail  the 
craft  and  receive  their  fees.  There  had  been  a  general  embargo 
on  all  seagoing  folks  for  a  day  before,  so  that  there  was  not  a 
fish  to  be  had  for  love  or  money  in  the  settlement.  Minute  pre- 
cautions like  these  are  absolutely  necessary  for  all  prudent 
slavers,  for  it  was  likely  that  the  cruiser  kept  a  spy  in  her  pay 
among  my  people,  as  well  as  I  did  among  hers  I 

All,  therefore,  was  exceedingly  comfortable,  so  far  as  ordinary 
judgment  could  foresee ;  but  alas  !  the  moon  was  full,  and  the 
African  surf  at  such  periods  is  fearfully  terrific.  As  I  listened 
from  my  piazza  or  gazed  from  my  beHevue,  it  roared  on  the 
strand  like  the  charge  of  interminable  cavalry.  My  watchful 
enemy  had  been  several  days  absent,  and  I  expected  her  return 
from  hour  to  hour.  The  shipment,  though  extremely  perilous,  was, 
therefore  indispensable ;  and  four  short  hours  of  daylight  alone 
remained  to  complete  it.     I  saw  the  risk,  yet,  taking  counsel  with 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  347 

the  head  Kroo  and  Fishmen,  I  persuaded  them,  under  the  •provo- 
cation of  triple  reward,  to  attempt  the  enterprise  with  the  smallest 
skiffs  and  stoutest  rowers,  while  a  band  of  lusty  youths  stood  by 
to  plunge  in  whenever  the  breakers  capsized  a  canoe. 

We  began  with  females,  as  the  most  difficult  cargo  for  em- 
barkation, and  seventy  reached  the  brig  safely.  Then  followed 
the  stronger  sex ;  but  by  this  time  a  sea  breeze  set  in  from  the 
south-west  like  a  young  gale,  and  driving  the  rollers  with  greater 
rapidity,  upset  almost  every  alternate  cockleshell  set  adrift  with 
its  living  freight.  It  was  fortunate  that  our  sharks  happened 
that  evening  to  be  on  a  frolic  elsewhere,  so  that  negro  after  negro 
was  rescued  from  the  brine,  though  the  sun  was  rapidly  sinking 
when  but  two  thirds  of  my  slaves  were  safely  shipped. 

I  ran  up  and  down  the  beach,  in  a  fever  of  anxiety,  shout- 
ing, encouraging,  coaxing,  appealing,  and  refreshing  the  boatmen 
and  swimmers;  but  as  the  gangs  came  ashore,  they  sank  ex- 
hausted on  the  beach,  refusing  to  stir.  Rum,  which  hitherto 
roused  them  like  electricity,  was  now  powerless.  Powder  they 
did  not  want,  nor  muskets,  nor  ordinary  trade  stuff,  for  they 
never  engaged  in  kidnapping  or  slave  wars. 

As  night  approached  the  wind  increased.  There  was  the  brig 
with  topsails  aback,  signalling  impatiently  for  despatch  ;  but  never 
was  luckless  factor  more  at  fault !  I  was  on  the  eve  of  giving 
up  in  despair,  when  a  bright  flash  brought  to  recollection  a 
quantity  of  Venetian  beads  of  mock  coral  which  I  had  stowed  in 
my  chest.  They  happened,  at  that  moment,  to  be  the  rage  among 
the  girls  of  our  beach,  and  were  of  course  irresistible  keys  to  the 
heart  of  every  belle.  Now  the  smile  of  a  lip  has  the  same  magical 
power  in  Africa  as  elsewhere  ;  and  the  offer  of  a  coral  bunch  for 
each,  head  embarked,  brought  all  the  dames  and  damsels  of  Sestros 
to  my  aid.  Such  a  shower  of  chatter  was  never  heard  out  of  a 
canary  cage.  Mothers,  sisters,  daughters,  wives,  sweethearts,  took 
charge  of  the  embarkation  by  coaxing  or  commanding  their  re- 
spective gentlemen ;  and,  before  the  sun's  rim  dipped  below  the 
horizon,  a  few  strands  of  false  coral,  or  the  kiss  of  a  negro  wench, 
sent  one  hundred  more  of  the  Africans  into  Spanish  slavery. 

But  this  effort   exhausted   my  people.     The   charm  of  beads 


348  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

and  beauty  was  over  :  Three  slaves  found  a  tomb  in  the  sharks, 
or  a  grave  in  the  deep,  while  the  brig  took  flight  in  the  darkness 
without  the  remaining  one  hundred  and  twenty  I  had  designed 
for  her  hold. 

Next  morning  the  cruiser  loomed  once  more  in  the  offing, 
and,  in  a  fit  of  impetuous  benevolence,  I  hurried  a  Krooman 
aboard,  with  the  offer  of  my  compliments,  and  a  sincere  hope  that 
I  could  render  some  service  ! 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  349 


CHAPTER    LVI. 

About  this  time,  a  Spanish  vessel  from  the  Canaries,  laden  with 
fruit,  the  greater  part  of  which  had  been  sold  at  Goree,  Sierra 
Leone,  Gallinas,  and  Cape  Mesurado,  dropped  anchor  opposite 
my  little  roadstead  with  a  letter  from  Blanco,  The  Spaniard 
had  been  chartered  by  the  Don  to  bring  from  the  Grain  Coast  a 
cargo  of  rice,  which  he  was  to  collect  under  my  instructions. 

My  barracoons  happened  to  be  just  then  pretty  bare,  and  as 
the  season  did  not  require  my  presence  in  the  factory  for  trade, 
it  struck  me  that  I  could  not  pass  a  few  weeks  more  agreeably, 
and  ventilate  my  jaded  faculties  more  satisfactorily,  than  by 
throwing  my  carpetbag  on  the  Brilliant,  and  purchasing  the 
cargo  myself. 

In  the  prosecution  of  this  little  adventure,  I  called  along  the 
coast  with  cash  at  several  English  factories,  where  I  obtained 
rice  ;  and  on  my  return  anchored  oflF  the  river  to  purchase  sea- 
stores.  Here  I  found  Governor  Findley,  chief  of  the  colony, 
laboring  under  a  protracted  illness  which  refused  yielding  to 
medicine,  but  might,  probably,  be  relieved  by  a  voyage,  even  of 
a  few  days,  in  the  pure  air  of  old  Neptune.  Slaver  as  I  was,  I 
contrived  never  to  omit  a  civility  to  gentlemen  on  the  coast 
of  Africa ;  and  I  confess  I  was  proud  of  the  honorable  service, 
when  Governor  Findley  accepted  the  Brilliant  for  a  trip  along 
the  coast.     He  proposed  visiting  Monrovia  and  Bassa ;  and  after 


350  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

landing  at  some  port  in  that  quarter  to  await  the  captain's  return 
from  windward. 

I  fanned  along  the  coast  as  slowly  as  I  could,  to  give  the 
Governor  every  possible  chance  to  recruit  his  enervated  frame 
by  change  of  air ;  but,  as  I  looked  in  at  New  Sestros  in  passing, 
I  found  three  trading  vessels  with  cargoes  of  merchandise  to  my 
consignment,  so  that  I  was  obliged  to  abandon  my  trip  and  return 
to  business.  I  left  the  Governor,  however,  in  excellent  hands, 
and  directed  the  captain  to  land  him  at  Bassa,  await  his  pleasure 
three  days,  and  finally,  to  bear  him  to  Monrovia,  the  last  place 
he  desired  visiting. 

The  Rio  San  Juan  or  Grand  Bassa,  is  only  fourteen  miles 
north-west  of  New  Sestros,  yet  it  was  near  nightfall  when  the 
Brilliant  approached  the  river  landing.  The  Spaniard  advised 
his  guest  not  to  disembark  till  next  morning,  but  the  Governor  was 
so  restless  and  anxious  about  delay,  that  he  declined  our  captain's 
counsel,  and  went  ashore  at  a  native  town,  with  the  design  of 
crossing  on  foot  the  two  miles  of  beach  to  the  American  settle- 
ment. 

As  Findley  w^ent  over  the  Brilliant's  side  into  the  Krooman's 
canoe,  the  jingle  of  silver  was  heard  in  his  pocket;  and  warning 
was  given  him  either  to  hide  his  money  or  leave  it  on  board. 
But  the  Governor  smiled  at  the  caution,  and  disregarding  it  en- 
tirely, threw  himself  into  the  African  skifiF. 

Night  fell.  The  curtain  of  darkness  dropped  over  the  coast  and 
sea.  Twice  the  sun  rose  and  sefwithout  word  from  the  Governor. 
At  last,  my  delayed  mariner  became  impatient  if  not  anxious, 
and  despatched  one  of  my  servants  who  spoke  English,  in  search 
of  Mr.  Findley  at  the  American  Settlement.  No  one  had  seen 
or  heard  of  him!  But,  hurrying  homeward  from  his  fruitless 
errand,  my  boy  followed  the  winding  beach,  and  half  way  to  the 
vessel  found  a  human  body,  its  head  gashed  with  a  deep  wound, 
floating  and  beating  against  the  rocks.  He  could  not  recognize 
the  features  of  the  battered  face ;  but  the  well  remembered 
garments  left  no  doubt  on  the  servant's  mind  that  the  corpse  was 
Findley's. 

The   frightful  story  was  received  with  dismay  on  the  Bril- 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  351 

liant,  whose  captain,  unfamiliar  with  the  coast  and  its  people, 
hesitated  to  land,  with  the  risk  of  treachery  or  ambush,  even  to 
give  a  grave  to  the  dust  of  his  wretched  passenger.  In  this 
dilemma  he  thought  best  to  run  the  fourteen  miles  to  New  Ses- 
tros,  where  he  might  counsel  with  me  before  venturing  ashore. 

"Whatever  personal  anxiety  may  have  flashed  athwart  my  mind 
when  I  heard  of  the  death  of  a  colonial  governor  while  enjoying 
the  hospitality  of  myself, — a  slaver, — the  thought  vanished  as 
quickly  as  it  was  conceived.  In  an  instant  I  was  busy  with 
detection  and  revenge. 

It  happened  that  the  three  captains  had  already  landed  the 
cargoes  to  my  consignment,  so  that  their  empty  vessels  were  lying 
at  anchor  in  the  roads,  and  the  officers  ready  to  aid  me  in  any 
enterprise  I  deemed  feasible.  My  colleagues  were  from  three 
nations  : — one  was  a  Spaniard,  another  a  Portuguese,  and  the  last 
American. 

Next  morning  I  was  early  aboard  the  Spaniard,  and  sending 
for  the  Portuguese  skipper,  we  assembled  the  crew.  I  dwelt 
earnestly  and  heartily  on  the  insult  the  Castilian  flag  had  received 
by  the  murder  of  an  important  personage  while  protected  by  its 
folds.  I  demonstrated  the  necessity  there  was  for  prompt  chas- 
tisement of  the  brutal  crime,  and  concluded  by  informing  the 
crowd,  that  their  captains  had  resolved  to  aid  me  in  vindicating 
our  banner.  When  I  ventured  to  hope  that  the  men  would  not 
hesitate  to  back  their  ofiicers,  a  general  shout  went  up  that  they 
were  ready  to  land  and  punish  the  negroes. 

As  soon  as  the  enterprise  was  known  on  board  the  American, 
her  captain  insisted  on  volunteering  in  the  expedition ;  and  by 
noon,  our  little  squadron  was  under  way,  with  fifty  muskets  in  the 
cabins. 

The  plan  I  roughly  proposed,  was,  under  the  menacing  ap- 
pearance of  this  force,  to  demand  the  murderer  or  murderers  of 
Governor  Findley,  and  to  execute  them,  either  on  his  grave,  or  the 
spot  where  his  corpse  was  found.  Failing  in  this,  I  intended  to 
land  portions  of  the  crews,  and  destroy  the  towns  nearest  the 
theatre  of  the  tragedy. 

The  sun  was  still  an  hour  or  more  high,  when   we  sailed   in 


352  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

line  past  the  native  towns  along  the  fatal  beach,  and  displayed  our 
flags  and  pennants.  Off  the  Rio  San  Juan,  we  tacked  in  man-of- 
war  fashion,  and  returning  southward,  each  vessel  took  post  oppo- 
site a  different  town  as  if  to  command  it. 

While  I  had  been  planning  and  executing  these  manoeuvres, 
the  colonial  settlers  had  heard  of  the  catastrophe,  and  found  poor 
Findley's  mangled  corpse.  At  the  moment  of  our  arrival  off  the 
river's  mouth,  an  anxious  council  of  resolute  men  was  discussing 
the  best  means  of  chastising  the  savages.  When  my  servant 
inquired  for  the  governor  he  had  spoken  of  him  as  a  passenger  in 
the  Spanish  craft,  so  that  the  parade  of  our  vessels  alongshore 
and  in  front  of  the  native  towns,  betokened,  they  thought,  co-op- 
eration on  the  part  of  the  Mongo  of  New  Sestros. 

Accordingly,  we  had  not  been  long  at  anchor  before  Governor 
Johnson  despatched  a  Krooman  to  know  whether  I  was  aboard  a 
friendly  squadron ;  and,  if  so,  he  trusted  I  would  land,  at  once, 
and  unite  with  his  forces  in  the  intended  punishment. 

In  the  interval,  however,  the  cunning  savages  who  soon  found 
out  that  we  had  no  cannons,  flocked  to  the  beach,  and  as  they  were 
beyond  musket  shot,  insulted  us  by  gestures,  and  defied  a  bat- 
tle. 

Of  course  no  movement  was  made  against  the  blacks  that 
night,  but  it  was  agreed  in  council  at  the  American  settlement, 
that  the  expedition,  supported  by  a  field  piece,  should  advance 
next  day  by  the  beach,  where  I  could  reinforce  it  with  my  seamen 
a  short  distance  from  the  towns. 

Punctual  to  the  moment,  the  colonial  flag,  with  drum  and  fife, 
appeared  on  the  sea-shore  at  nine  in  the  morning,  followed  by  some 
forty  armed  men,  dragging  their  cannon.  Five  boats,  filled  with 
sailors  instantly  left  our  vessels  to  support  the  attack,  and,  by  this 
time,  the  colonists  had  reached  a  massive  rock  which  blocked  the 
beach  like  a  bulwark,  and  was  already  possessed  by  the  natives. 
My  position,  in  flank,  made  my  force  most  valuable  in  dislodging 
the  foe,  and  of  course  I  hastened  my  oars  to  open  the  passage.  As 
I  was  altogether  ignorant  of  the  numbers  that  might  be  hidden 
and  lurking  in  the  dense  jungle  that  was  not  more  than  fifty  feet 
from  the  water's  edge,  I  kept  my  men  afloat  within  musket  shot. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  353 

and,  with  a  few  rounds  of  ball  cartridge  purged  the  rock  of  its 
defenders,  though  but  a  single  savage  was  mortally  wounded. 

Upon  this,  the  colonists  advanced  to  the  vacant  bulwark,  and 
were  joined  by  our  reinforcement.  Wheeler,  who  commanded 
the  Americans,  proposed  that  we  should  march  in  a  compact  body 
to  the  towns,  and  give  battle  to  the  blacks  if  they  held  out  in  their 
dwellings.  But  his  plan  was  not  executed,  for,  before  we  reached 
the  negro  huts,  we  were  assailed  from  the  bushes  and  jungle. 
Their  object  was  to  keep  hidden  within  the  dense  underwood  ;  to 
shoot  and  run ;  while  we,  entirely  exposed  on  the  open  shore,  were 
obliged  to  remain  altogether  on  the  defensive  by  dodging  the  balls, 
or  to  fire  at  the  smoke  of  an  unseen  enemy.  Occasionally,  large 
numbers  of  the  savages  would  appear  at  a  distance  beyond  musket 
range,  and  tossing  their  guns  and  lances,  or  brandishing  their 
cutlasses,  would  present  their  naked  limbs  to  our  gaze,  slap  their 
shining  flanks,  and  disappear  !  But  this  diverting  exercise  was 
not  repeated  very  often.  A  sturdy  colonist,  named  Bear,  who 
carried  a  long  and  heavy  old-fashioned  rifle,  took  rest  on  my 
shoulder,  and,  when  the  next  party  of  annoying  jokers  displayed 
their  personal  charms,  laid  its  leader  in  the  dust  by  a  Yankee 
ball.  Our  cannon  and  blunderbusses  were  next  brought  into  play 
to  scour  the  jungle  and  expel  the  marksmen,  who,  confident  in  the 
security  of  their  impervious  screen,  began  to  fire  among  us  with 
more  precision  than  was  desirable,  A  Krooman  of  our  party  was 
killed,  and  a  colonist  severely  wounded.  Small  sections  of  our 
two  commands  advanced  at  a  run,  and  tired  a  volley  into  the  bush- 
es, while  the  main  body  of  the  expedition  hastened  along  the  beach 
towards  the  towns.  By  repeating  this  process  several  times,  we 
were  enabled,  without  further  loss,  to  reach  the  first  settlement. 

Here,  of  course,  we  expected  to  find  the  savages  arrayed  in 
force  to  defend  their  roof- trees,  but  when  we  entered  the  place 
cautiously,  and  crept  to  the  first  dwelling  in  the  outskirt,  it  was 
empty.  So  with  the  second,  third,  fourth, — until  we  overran 
the  whole  settlement  and  found  it  utterly  deserted ; — its  furni- 
ture, stock,  implements,  and  even  doors  carried  ofi"  by  the  delib- 
erate fugitives.  The  guardian  fetiche  was  alone  left  to  protect 
their  abandoned  hovels.     But  the  superstitious  charm  did  not 


354  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

save  them.  The  brand  was  liglited ;  and,  in  an  hour,  five  of 
these  bauiboo  confederacies  were  given  to  the  flames. 

We  discovered  while  approaching  the  towns,  that  our  assault 
had  made  so  serious  an  inroad  on  the  slim  supply  of  ammunition, 
that  it  was  deemed  advisable  to  send  a  messenger  to  the  colony 
for  a  reinforcement.  By  neglect  or  mishap,  the  powder  and  ball 
never  reached  us  ;  so  that  when  the  towns  were  destroyed,  no 
one  dreamed  of  penetrating  the  forest  to  unearth  its  vermin  with 
the  remnant  of  cartridges  in  our  chest  and  boxes.  I  never  was 
able  to  discover  the  cause  of  this  unpardonable  neglect,  or  the 
officer  who  permitted  it  to  occur  in  such  an  exigency;  but  it  was 
forthwith  deemed  advisable  to  waste  no  time  in  retreating  after 
our  partial  revenge. 

Till  now,  the  Africans  had  kept  strictly  on  the  defensive,  but 
when  they  saw  our  faces  turned  towards  the  beach,  or  colony, 
every  bush  and  thicket  became  alive  again  with  aggressive  foes. 
For  a  while,  the  cannon  kept  them  at  bay,  but  its  grape  soon 
gave  out ;  and,  while  I  was  in  the  act  of  superintending  a  fair 
division  of  the  remaining  ball  cartridges,  I  was  shot  in  the  right 
foot  with  an  iron  slug.  At  the  moment  of  injury  I  scarcely 
felt  the  wound,  and  did  not  halt,  but,  as  I  trudged  along  in  the 
sand  and  salt- water,  my  wound  grew  painful,  and  the  loss  of 
blood  which  tracked  my  steps,  soon  obliged  me  to  seek  refuge  in 
the  canoe  of  my  Kroomen. 

The  sight  of  my  bleeding  body  borne  to  the  skiff,  was  hailed 
with  shouts  and  gestures  of  joy  and  contempt  by  the  savages.  As 
I  crossed  the  last  breaker  and  dropped  into  smooth  water,  my 
eyes  reverted  to  the  beach,  where  I  heard  the  exultant  war  drum 
and  war  bells,  while  the  colonists  were  beheld  in  full  flight, 
leaving  their  artillery  in  the  hands  of  our  foe !  It  was  sub- 
sequently reported  that  the  commander  of  the  party  had  been 
panic  struck  by  the  perilous  aspect  of  afi"airs,  and  ordered  the 
precipitate  and  fatal  retreat,  which  that  very  night  emboldened 
the  negroes  to  revenge  the  loss  of  their  towns  by  the  conflagration 
of  Bassa  Cove. 

Next  day,  my  own  men,  and  the  volunteers  from  our  Spanish, 
Portuguese  and  American  vessels,  were  sent  on  board,  eight  of 


TWENTi'    YEAllS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  855 

them  bearing  marks  of  the  fray,  which  fortunately  proved  neither 
fatal  nor  dangerous.  The  shameful  flight  of  my  comrades  not 
only  gave  heart  to  the  blacks,  but  spread  its  cowardly  panic 
among  the  resident  colonists.  The  settlement,  they  told  me, 
was  in  danger  of  attack,  and  although  my  wound  and  the  disaster 
both  contributed  to  excite  me  against  the  fugitives,  I  did  not 
quit  the  San  Juan  without  reinforcing  Governor  Johnson  with 
twenty  muskets  and  some  kegs  of  powder. 

I  have  dwelt  rather  tediously  perhaps  on  this  sad  occurrence 
— but  I  have  a  reason.  Governor  Findley's  memory  was,  at  this 
time,  much  vilified  on  the  coast,  because  that  functionary  had  ac- 
cepted the  boon  of  a  passage  in  the  Brilliant,  which  was  falsely  de- 
clared to  be  "  a  Spanish  slaver."  There  were  some  among  the 
overrighteous  who  even  went  so  far  as  to  proclaim  his  death  "  a 
judgment  for  venturing  on  the  deck  of  such  a  vessel  !" 

As  no  one  took  the  trouble  to  investigate  the  facts  and  con- 
tradict the  malicious  lie,  I  have  thought  it  but  justice  to  tell 
the  entire  story,  and  exculpate  a  gentleman  who  met  a  terrible 
death  in  the  bold  prosecution  of  his  duty. 


356  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 


CHAPTER    LVII. 

I  TOOK  the  earliest  opportunity  to  apprise  Don  Pedro  Blanco  of 
the  mishap  that  had  befallen  his  factor's  limb,  so  that  I  might 
receive  the  prompt  aid  of  an  additional  clerk  to  attend  the  more 
active  part  of  our  business.  Don  Pedro's  answer  was  extremely 
characteristic.  The  letter  opened  with  a  draft  for  five  hundred 
dollars,  which  he  authorized  me  to  bestow  on  the  widow  and 
orphans  of  Governor  Findley,  if  he  left  a  family.  The  slaver  of 
Gallinas  then  proceeded  to  comment  upon  my  Quixotic  expedi- 
tion ;  and,  in  gentle  terms,  intimated  a  decided  censure  for  my 
immature  attempt  to  chastise  the  negroes.  He  did  not  disap- 
prove my  motives  ;  but  considered  any  revengeful  assault  on  the 
natives  unwise,  unless  every  precaution  had  previously  been 
taken  to  insure  complete  success.  Don  Pedro  hoped  that,  hence- 
forth, I  would  take  things  more  coolly,  so  as  not  to  hazard  either 
my  life  or  his  property ;  and   concluded  the  epistle  by  super- 


scribing it : 


To 

"'  IScnor  Powder, 

"  at  his  Magazi?ie, 

"  New  Sestros." 


The   slug  that   struck   the  upper   part  of  my  foot,  near  the 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN     AFRICAN    SLAVER.  357 

ankle  joint,  tore  ray  flesh  and  tendons  with  a  painfully  danger- 
gerous  wound,  which,  for  nine  months,  kept  me  a  prisoner  on 
crutches.  During  the  long  and  wearying  confinement  which  al- 
most broke  my  restless  heart,  I  had  little  to  do  save  to  superintend 
the  general  fortunes  of  our  factory.  Now  and  then,  an  incident 
occurred  to  relieve  the  monotony  of  my  sick  chair,  and  make  me 
forget,  for  a  moment,  the  pangs  of  my  crippled  limb.  One  of 
these  events  flashes  across  my  memory  as  I  write,  in  the  shape 
of  a  letter  which  was  mysteriously  delivered  at  my  landing  by  a 
coaster,  and  came  from  poor  Joseph,  my  ancient  partner  on  the 
Rio  Pongo.  Coomba's  spouse  was  in  trouble  I  and  the  ungrate- 
ful scamp,  though  forgetful  of  my  own  appeals  from  the  Chateau 
of  Brest^  did  not  hesitate  to  claim  my  brotherly  aid.  Captured 
in  a  Spanish  slaver,  and  compromised  beyond  salvation,  Joseph 
had  been  taken  into  Sierra  Leone,  where  he  was  now  under  sen- 
tence of  transportation.  The  letter  hinted  that  a  liberal  sum 
might  purchase  his  escape,  even  from  the  tenacious  jaws  of  the 
British  lion  ;  and  when  I  thought  of  old  times,  the  laughable 
marriage  ceremony,  and  the  merry  hours  we  enjoyed  at  Kambia, 
I  forgave  his  neglect.  A  draft  on  Don  Pedro  was  readily  cashed 
at  Sierra  Leone,  notwithstanding  the  paymaster  was  a  slaver  and 
the  jurisdiction  that  of  St.  George  and  his  Cross.  The  trans- 
action, of  course,  was  "  purely  commercial,"'  and,  therefore,  sin- 
less ;  so  that,  in  less  than  a  month,  Joseph  and  the  bribed 
turnkey  were  on  their  way  to  the  Kio  Pongo, 

By  this  time  the  sub-factory  of  New  Sestros  was  somewhat 
renowned  in  Cuba  and  Porto  Kico.  Our  dealings  with  comman- 
ders, the  character  of  my  cargoes,  and  the  rapidity  with  which  I 
despatched  a  customer  and  his  craft  were  proverbial  in  the  islands. 
Indeed,  the  third  year  of  my  lodgment  had  not  rolled  over,  be- 
fore the  slave-demand  was  so  great,  that  in  spite  of  rum,  cottons, 
muskets,  powder,  kidnapping  and  Prince  Freeman's  wars,  the 
country  could  not  supply  our  demand. 

To  aid  New  Sestros,  I  had  established  several  nurseries,  or 
junior  factories,  at  Little  Ba.ssa  and  Digby  ;  points  a  few  miles 
from  the  limits  of  Liberia.  These  "  chapels  of  ease  "  furnished 
my  parent  barracoo)is  with  young  and  small  negroes,  mostly 
kidnapped.  I  suppose,  in  the  neighborhood  of  the  beaeh. 


358 

When  I  was  perfectly  cured  of  the  injury  I  sustained  in  my 
first  philanthropic  fight,  I  loaded  my  spacious  cutter  with  a 
choice  collection  of  trade-goods,  and  set  sail  one  fine  morning 
for  this  outpost  at  Digby.  I  designed,  also,  if  advisable,  to 
erect  another  receiving  barracoon  under  the  lee  of  Cape 
Mount. 

But  my  call  at  Digby  was  unsatisfactory.  The  pens  were 
vacant,  and  our  merchandise  squandered  on  credit.  This  put 
me  in  a  very  uncomfortable  passion,  which  would  have  rendered 
an  interview  between  ^'  Mr.  Powder  "  and  his  agent  any  thing 
but  pleasant  or  profitable,  had  that  personage  been  at  his  post. 
Fortunately,  however,  for  both  of  us,  he  was  abroad  carousing 
with  "  a  king ;  "  so  that  I  refused  landing  a  single  yard  of  mer- 
chandise, and  hoisted  sail  for  the  next  village. 

There  I  transacted  business  in  regular  "  ship  shape."  Our 
rum  was  plenteously  distributed  and  established  an  entente  cordiale 
which  would  have  charmed  a  diplomatist  at  his  first  dinner  in  a 
new  capital.  The  naked  blackguards  flocked  round  me  like 
crows,  and  I  clothed  their  loins  in  parti-colored  calicoes  that 
enriched  them  with  a  plumage  worthy  of  parrots.  I  was  the 
prince  of  gooiji  fellows  in  "  every  body's"  opinion;  and,  in  five 
days,  nineteen  newly-"  conveTjed "  darkies  were  exchanged  for 
London  muskets,  Yankee  grog,  and  Manchester  cottons  !  " 

My  cutter,  though  but  twenty-seven  feet  long,  was  large 
enough  to  stow  my  gang,  considering  that  the  voyage  was  short, 
and  the  slaves  but  boys  and  girls ;  so  I  turned  my  prow  home- 
ward with  contented  spirit  and  promising  skies.  Yet,  before 
night,  all  was  changed.  Wind  and  sea  rose  together.  The  sun 
sank  in  a  long  streak  of  blood.  After  a  while,  it  rained  in  ter- 
rible squalls;  till,  finally,  darkness  caught  me  in  a  perfect  gale.  So 
high  was  the  surf  and  so  shelterless  the  coast,  that  it  became 
utterly  impossible  to  make  a  lee  of  any  headland  where  we  might 
ride  out  the  storm  in  safety.  Our  best  hope  was  in  the  cutter's 
ability  to  keep  the  open  sea  without  swamping  ;  and,  accordingly, 
under  the  merest  patch  of  sail,  I  coasted  the  perilous  breakers, 
guided  by  their  roar,  till  day  dawn.  But,  when  the  sun  lifted 
over  the  horizon, — peering  for  an  instant  through  a  rent  in  the 


I 


IWE-KTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  359 

storm-cloud,  and  then  disappearing  behind  the  gray  vapor, — I 
saw  at  once  that  the  coast  offered  no  chance  of  landing  our 
blacks  at  some  friendly  town.  Every  where  the  bellowing  shore 
was  lashed  by  surf,  impracticable  even  for  the  boats  and  skill  of 
Kroomen.  On  I  dashed,  therefore,  driving  and  almost  burying 
the  cutter,  with  loosened  reef,  till  we  came  opposite  Monrovia; 
where,  safe  in  the  absence  of  cruisers,  I  crept  at  dark  under  the 
lee  of  the  cape,  veiling  my  cargo  with  our  useless  sails. 

Sunset  "  killed  the  wind,"  enabling  us  to  be  off  again  at 
dawn  ;  yet  hardly  were  we  clear  of  the  cape,  when  both  gale  and 
current  freshened  from  the  old  quarter,  holding  us  completely 
in  check.  Nevertheless,  I  kept  at  sea  till  evening,  and  then 
sneaked  back  to  my  protecting  anchorage. 

By  this  time,  my  people  and  slaves  were  wellnigh  famished, 
for  their  sole  food  had  been  a  scant  allowance  of  raw  cassava. 
Anxiety,  toil,  rain,  and  drenching  spray,  broke  their  spirits. 
The  blacks,  from  the  hot  interior,  and  now  for  the  first  time  off 
their  mother  earth,  suffered  not  only  from  the  inclement  weather, 
but  groaned  with  the  terrible  pangs  of  sea-sickness.  I  resolved, 
therefore,  if  possible,  to  refresh  the  drooping  gang  by  a  hot  meal; 
and,  beneath  the  shelter  of  a  tarpaulin,  contrived  to  cook  a  mess 
of  rice.  Warm  food  comforted  us  astonishingly  ;  but,  alas  !  the 
next  day  was  a  picture  of  the  past  !  A  slave — cramped  and 
smothered  amid  the  crowd  that  soaked  so  long  in  the  salt  water 
at  our  boat's  bottom — died  during  the  darkness.  Next  morning, 
the  same  low,  leaden,  coffin-lid  sky,  hung  like  a  pall  over  sea  and 
shore.  Wind  in  terriffic  blasts,  and  rain  in  deluging  squalls, 
howled  and  beat  on  us.  Come  what  might,  I  resolved  not  to 
stir !  All  day  I  kept  my  people  beneath  the  sails,  with  orders 
to  move  their  limbs  as  much  as  possible,  in  order  to  overcome  the 
benumbing  effect  of  moisture  and  packed  confinement.  The  in- 
cessant drenching  from  sea  and  sky  to  which  they  had  been  so 
long  subjected,  chilled  their  slackened  circulation  to  such  a  de- 
gree, that  death  from  torpor  seemed  rapidly  supervening.  Mo- 
tion, motion,  motion,  was  my  constant  command  ;  but  I  hoarded 
my  alcohol  for  the  last  resource. 

I  saw  that  no  time  was  to  be  lost,  and  that  nothing  but   a 


360  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

bold  encounter  of  hazard  would  save  either  lives  or  property. 
Before  dark  my  mind  was  made  up  as  to  the  enterprise.  I  would 
land  in  the  neighborhood  of  the  colony,  and  cross  its  territory 
during  the  shadow  of  night ! 

I  do  not  suppose  that  the  process  by  which  I  threw  my  stiff- 
ened crew  on  the  beach,  and  revived  them  with  copious  draughts 
of  brandy,  would  interest  the  reader;  hut  midnight  did  not 
strike  before  my  cargo,  under  the  escort  of  Kroo  guides,  was 
boldly  marched  through  the  colonial  tow7i,  and  safe  on  its  way 
to  New  Sestros  !  Fortunately  for  my  dare-devil  adventure,  the 
tropical  rain  poured  down  in  ceaseless  torrents,  compelling  the 
unsuspicious  colonists  to  keep  beneath  their  roofs.  Indeed,  no 
one  dreamed  of  a  forced  march  by  human  beings  on  that  dreadful 
night  of  tempest,  else  it  might  have  gone  hard  had  I  been  detect- 
ed in  the  desecration  of  colonial  soil.  Still  I  was  prepared  for 
all  emergencies.  I  never  went  abroad  without  the  two  great 
keys  of  Africa — gold  and  firearms ;  and  had  it  been  my  lot  to 
encounter  a  colonist,  he  would  either  have  learned  the  value  of 
silence,  or  have  been  carried  along,  under  the  muzzle  of  a  pistol, 
till  the  gang  was  in  safety. 

While  it  was  still  dark,  I  left  the  caravan  advancing  by  an 
interior  path  to  Little  Bassa,  where  one  of  my  branches  could 
furnish  it  with  necessaries  to  cross  the  other  colony  of  Bassa  San 
Juan,  so  as  to  reach  my  homestead  in  the  course  of  three  days. 
Meanwhile  I  retraced  my  way  to  Monrovia,  and,  reaching  it  by 
sunrise,  satisfied  the  amiable  colonists  that  I  had  just  taken  shel- 
ter in  their  harbor,  and  was  fresh  from  my  dripping  cutter.  It 
is  very  likely  that  no  one  in  the  colony  to  the  present  day  knows 
the  true  story  of  this  adventure,  or  would  believe  it  unless  con- 
fessed by  me. 

It  was  often  my  fate  in  Africa,  and  elsewhere,  to  hear  gossips 
declare  that  colonists  were  no  better  than  others  who  dwelt  amid 
coast  temptations,  and  that  they  were  sometimes  even  willing  to 
back  a  certain  Don  Theodore  Canot,  if  not  absolutely  to  share 
bis  slave  trade  !  I  never  thought  it  prudent  to  exculpate  those 
honorable  emigrants  who  were  consolidating  the  first  colonial 
lodgments  from  the  United  States ;  for  I  believed  that  77iy  denial 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  361 

would  only  add  sarcastic  venom  to  the  scandal  of  vilifiers. 
But  now  that  my  African  career  is  over,  and  the  slave  trade  a 
mere  tradition  in  the  neighborhood  of  Liberia,  I  may  assure  the 
friends  of  colonization,  that,  in  all  my  negro  traffic,  no  American 
settler  gave  assistance  or  furnished  merchandise  which  I  could  not 
have  obtained  at  the  most  loyal  establishments  of  Britain  or 
France.  I  think  it  will  be  granted  by  unprejudiced  people,  that 
the  colonist  who  sold  me  a  few  pieces  of  cloth,  lodged  me  in  tra- 
velling, or  gave  me  his  labor  for  my  flesh-colored  gold,  partici- 
pated no  more  in  the  African  slave  trade  than  the  European  or 
American  supercargo  who  sold  assorted  cargoes,  selected  with 
the  most  deliberate  judgment  in  London,  Paris,  Boston,  New- 
York,  Philadelphia,  or  Baltimore,  expressly  to  suit  the  well- 
known  cupidity  of  my  warriors,  kidnappers,  and  slave  merchants. 
Commerce  is  sometimes  an  adroit  metaphysican — but  a  bad 
moralist  1 

16 


862 


CHAPTER    LVIII. 

It  was  my  invariable  custom  whenever  a  vessel  made  her  ap- 
pearance in  the  roadstead  of  New  Sestros,  to  despatch  my  canoe 
with  "  Captain  Canot's  compliments ;  "  nor  did  I  omit  this  grace- 
ful courtesy  when  his  Britannic  Majesty's  cruisers  did  me  the 
honor  of  halting  in  my  neighborhood  to  watch  or  destroy  my  ope- 
rations. At  such  times  I  commonly  increased  the  politeness  by 
an  offer  of  my  services,  and  a  tender  of  provisions,  or  of  any  com- 
modity the  country  could  supply  ! 

I  remember  an  interesting  rencounter  of  this  sort  with  the 
officers  of  the  brig  of  war  Bonito.  My  note  was  forwarded  by  a 
trusty  Krooman,  even  before  her  sails  were  furled,  but  the  cour- 
teous offer  was  respectfully  declined  "/w  the  'presentP  The  cap- 
tain availed  himself,  however,  of  my  messenger's  return,  to  an- 
nounce that  the  "  commodore  in  command  of  the  African  squad- 
ron had  specially  deputed  the  Bonito  to  blockade  New  Sestros, 
for  which  purpose  she  was  provisioned  for  six  months^  and  or- 
dered not  to  budge  from  her  anchorage  till  relieved  by  a 
cruiser ! " 

This  formidable  announcement  was,  of  course,  intended  to 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  363 

strike  me  with  awe.  The  captain  hoped  in  conclusion,  that  I 
would  see  the  folly  of  prosecuting  my  abominable  traffic  in  the 
face  of  such  a  disastrous  vis  a  vis  ;  nor  could  he  refrain  from  in- 
timating his  surprise  that  a  man  of  my  reputed  character  and 
ability,  would  consent  to  manacle  and  starve  the  unfortunate  ne- 
groes who  were  now  sufferiDg  in  my  barracoons. 

I  saw  at  once  from  this  combined  attack  of  fear  and  flattery, 
backed  by  blockade,  that  his  majesty's  officer  had  either  been 
grossly  misinformed,  or  believed  that  a  scarcity  of  rice  prevailed 
in  my  establishment  as  well  as  elsewhere  along  the  coast. 

The  suspicion  of  starving  blacks  in  chains,  was  not  only  pa- 
thetic but  mortifying  !  It  was  part  of  the  sentimental  drapery  of 
British  reports  and  despatches,  to  which  I  became  accustomed 
in  Africa.  I  did  not  retort  upon  my  dashing  captain  with  a 
sneer  at  his  ancestors  who  had  taught  the  traffic  to  Spaniards, 
yet  I  resolved  not  to  let  his  official  communications  reach  the 
British  admiralty  with  a  fanciful  tale  about  my  barracoons  and 
starvation.  Accordingly,  without  more  ado,  I  sent  a  second  bil- 
let to  the  Bonito,  desiring  her  captain  or  any  of  her  officers  to 
visit  New  Sestros,  and  ascertain  personally  the  condition  of  my 
establishment. 

Strange  to  tell,  my  invitation  was  accepted  ;  and  at  noon  a 
boat  with  a  white  flag,  appeared  on  the  edge  of  the  surf,  convey- 
ing two  officers  to  my  beach.  The  surgeon  and  first  lieutenant 
were  my  visitors.  I  welcomed  them  most  cordially  to  my  cot- 
tage, and  as  soon  as  the  customary  refreshments  were  despatch- 
ed, proposed  a  glance  at  the  dreadful  barracoons. 

As  well  as  I  now  remember,  there  must  have  been  at  least 
five  hundred  slaves  in  my  two  pens,  sleek  in  flesh,  happy  in 
looks,  and  ready  for  the  first  customer  who  could  outwit  the 
cruiser.  I  quietly  despatched  a  notice  of  our  advent  to  the  bar- 
racooniers^  with  directions  as  to  their  conduct,  so  that  the  mo 
ment  ray  naval  friends  entered  the  stanch  inclosures,  full  two 
hundred  and  fifty  human  beings,  in  each,  rose  to  their  feet  and 
saluted  the  strangers  with  long  and  reiterated  clapping.  This 
sudden  and  surprising  demonstration  somewhat  alarmed  my 
guests  at  its  outburst,  and  made  them  retreat  a  pace  towards  the 


364  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

door, — perhaps  in  fear  of  treachery; — hut  when  they  saw  the 
smiling  faces  and  heard  the  pleased  chatter  of  iny  people,  they 
soon  came  forward  to  learn  that  the  compliment  was  worth  a  cus- 
tomary demijohn  of  rum. 

The  adventure  was  a  fortunate  one  for  the  reputation  of  New 
Sestros,  Don  Pedro  my  employer,  and  Don  Teodor,  his  clerk. 
Our  establishment  happened  just  then  to  be  at  a  summit  of  ma- 
terial comfort  rarely  exceeded  or  even  reached  by  others.  My 
pens  were  full  of  slaves ;  my  granary,  of  rice  ;  my  stores,  of 
merchandise. 

From  house  to  house, — from  hut  to  hut, — the  sailor  and  saw- 
bones wandered  with  expressions  of  perfect  admiration,  till  the 
hour  for  dinner  approached.  I  ordered  the  meal  to  be  adminis- 
tered with  minute  attention  to  all  our  usual  ceremonies.  The 
washing,  singing,  distribution  of  food,  beating  time,  and  all  the 
prandial  etceteras  of  comfort,  were  performed  with  the  utmost 
precision  and  cleanliness.  They  could  not  believe  that  such  was 
the  ordinary  routine  of  slave  life  in  barracoons^  but  ventured  to 
hint  that  I  must  have  got  up  the  drama  for  their  special  diver- 
sion, and  that  it  was  impossible  for  such  to  be  the  ordinary  drill 
and  demeanor  of  Africans.  Our  dapper  little  surgeon,  with  al- 
most dissective  inquisitiveness,  pried  into  every  nook  and  corner; 
and  at  length  reached  the  slave  kitchen,  where  a  caldron  was 
full  and  bubbling  with  the  most  delicious  rice.  Hard  by  stood 
a  pot,  simmering  with  meat  and  soup,  and  in  an  instant  the  doc- 
tor had  a  morsel  between  his  fingers  and  brought  his  companion 
to  follow  his  example. 

Now,  in  sober  truth,  this  was  no  casual  display  got  up  for 
effect,  but  the  common  routine  of  an  establishment  conducted 
with  prudent  foresight,  for  the  profit  of  its  owners  as  well  as 
the  comfort  of  our  people.  And  yet,  such  was  the  fanatical  pre- 
possession of  these  Englishmen,  whose  idea  of  Spanish  factories 
and  ^arrat'oows  was  formed  exclusively  from  exaggerated  reports, 
that  I  could  not  satisfy  them  of  my  truth  till  I  produced  our 
journal,  in  which  I  noted  minutely  every  item  of  daily  expendi- 
ture. It  must  be  understood,  however,  that  it  was  not  my  habit 
to  give  the  slaves  meat  every  day  of  the  week.   Such  a  diet  would 


TWENTY    YtAllS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  365 

not  be  prudent,  because  it  is  not  habitual  with  the  majority  of 
negroes.  Two  bullocks  were  slaughtered  each  week  for  the  use 
of  my  factorij,  while  the  hide,  head,  blood,  feet,  neck,  tail,  and 
entrails,  v>^ere  appropriated  for  broth  in  the  barracoons.  It  hap- 
pended  that  my  visitors  arrived  on  the  customary  day  of  our 
butchering. 

A  stinging  appetite  was  the  natural  result  of  our  review,  and 
while  the  naval  guests  were  whetting  it  still  more,  I  took  the  op- 
portunity to  slip  out  of  my  verandah  with  orders  for  our  harbor 
pilot  to  report  the  beach  "  impracticable  for  boats," — a  report 
which  no  prudent  sailor  on  the  coast  ever  disregards.  Meanwhile, 
I  despatched  a  Krooman  with  a  note  to  the  Bonito's  captain,  no- 
tifying that  personage  of  the  marine  hazard  that  prevented  his 
ofl&cers'  immediate  return,  and  fearing  they  might  even  find  it 
necessary  to  tarry  over  night.  This  little  ruse  was  an  im- 
promptu  device  to  detain  my  inspectors,  and  make  us  better  ac- 
quainted over  the  African  cuisine^  which,  by  this  time  was  smok- 
ing in  tureens  and  dishes  flanked  by  spirited  sentinels,  in  black 
uniform,  of  claret  and  eau  de  vie. 

Our  dinner-chat  was  African  all  over  :  slavery,  cruisers,  prize- 
money,  captures,  war,  negro-trade,  and  philanthropy !  The  sur- 
geon melted  enough  under  the  blaze  of  the  bottle  to  admit,  as  a 
2JhiIosoi?her,  that  Cuffee  was  happier  in  the  hands  of  white  men 
than  of  black,  and  that  he  would  even  support  the  institution  if 
it  could  be  carried  on  v>4th  a  little  more  humanity  and  less  blood- 
shed. The  lieutenant  saw  nothing,  even  through  the  "  Spiritual 
Medium  "  of  our  flagons,  save  prize-money  and  obedience  to  the 
Admiral  ;  while  Don  Teodor  became  rather  tart  on  the  ser- 
vice, and  confessed  that  his  incredulity  of  British  philanthropy 
would  never  cease  till  England  abandoned  her  Indian  wars,  her 
opium  smuggling,  and  her  persecution  of  the  Irish  ! 

In  truth,  these  loyal  subjects  of  the  King,  and  the  Spanish  sla- 
ver became  most  excellent  friends  before  bed-time,  and  ended  the 
evening  by  a  visit  to  Prince  Freeman,  who  forthwith  got  up  a 
negro  dance  and  jollification  for  our  special  entertainment. 

I  have  not  much  recollection  after  the  end  of  this  savage  frolic, 


366  CArxAiN  canot;  or. 

till  my  "  look-out "  knocked  at  the  door  with  the  news  that  our 
brig  was  firing  for  her  officers,  while  a  suspicious  sail  flitted  along 
the  horizon. 

All  good  sailors  sleep  with  one  eye  and  ear  open,  so  that  in  a 
twinkling  the  lieutenant  was  afoot  making  for  the  beach,  and  call- 
ing for  the  surgeon  to  follow.  "  A  canoe  !  a  canoe  !  a  canoe  !  " 
shouted  the  gallant  blade,  while  he  ran  to  and  fro  on  the  edge  of 
the  surf,  beholding  signal  after  signal  from  his  vessel.  But  alas  ! 
for  the  British  navy, — out  of  all  the  Kroo  spectators  not  one 
stirred  hand  or  foot  for  the  royal  officer.  Next  came  the  jingle  of 
dollars,  and  the  offer  of  twenty  to  the  boatmen  who  would  launch 
their  skiff  and  put  them  on  board.  "No  savez !  No  savez!  ax 
Commodore  !  ax  Consul !  " 

"  Curse  your  Commodore  and  Consul ! "  yelled  the  lieutenant, 
as  the  surgeon  came  up  with  the  vociferous  group  :  "  put  us  aboard 
and  be  paid,  or  I'll " 

"  Stop,  stop  !  "  interposed  my  pacific  saw-bones,  "  no  swearing 
and  no  threats,  lieutenant.  One's  just  as  useless  as  the  other. 
First  of  all,  the  Bonito's  off  about  her  business; — and  next,  my 
dear  fellow,  the  chase  she's  after  is  one  of  Canot's  squadron,  and, 
of  course,  there's  an  embargo  on  every  canoe  along  this  beach ! 
The  Commodore's  altogether  too  cute,  as  the  Yankees  say,  to 
reinforce  his  enemy  with  officers !  " 

During  this  charming  little  episode  of  my  hJocJcade,  I  was 
aloft  in  my  bellevieu,  watching  the  progress  of  the  chase ;  and  as 
both  vessels  kept  steadily  northward  they  soon  disappeared  behind 
the  land. 

By  this  time  it  was  near  breakfast,  and,  with  a  good  appetite, 
I  descended  to  the  verandah,  with  as  unconcerned  an  air  as  if 
nothing  had  occurred  beyond  the  ordinary  routine  of  factory  life. 
But,  not  so,  alas !  my  knight  of  the  single  epaulette. 

"  This  is  a  pretty  business,  sir ;  "  said  the  lieutenant,  fixing  a 
look  on  me  which  was  designed  to  annihilate ;  striding  up  and 
down  the  piazza,  "  a  very  pretty  business,  I  repeat !  "  Pray,  Com- 
modore, Consul,  Don,  Senor,  Mister,  Monsieur,  Theodore  Canot, 
or  whatever  the  devil  else  you  please  to  call  yourself,  how  long 
do  you  intend  to  keep  British  officers  prisoners  in  your  infernal 
slave  den  ?  " 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  367 

Now  it  is  very  likely  that  some  years  before,  or  if  I  had  not 
contrived  the  plot  of  this  little  naval  cojitre  tcmps^  I  might  have 
burst  forth  in  a  beautiful  rage,  and  given  my  petulant  and  foiled 
visitor  a  specimen  of  my  Spanish  vocabulary,  which  would  not 
have  rested  pleasantly  in  the  memory  of  either  party.  But  as  he 
warmed  /  cooled.  His  rage,  in  fact,  was  a  fragment  of  my  prac- 
tical satire,  and  I  to*ok  special  delight  in  beholding  the  contor- 
tions caused  by  my  physic. 

"  Sit  down,  sit  down,  lieutenant! "  returned  I  very  composedly, 
'•we're  about  to  have  coffee,  and  you  are  my  guest.  Nothing, 
lieutenant,  ever  permits  me  to  neglect  the  duties  of  hospitality  in 
such  an  out-of-the-way  and  solitary  place  as  Africa.  Sit  down, 
doctor !  Calm  yourselves,  gentlemen.  Take  example  by  me ! 
Your  Bonito  is  probably  playing  the  devil  with  one  of  Don  Pedro's 
craft  by  this  time ;  but  that  don't  put  me  out  of  temper,  or  make 
me  unmannerly  to  gentlemen  who  honor  my  bamboo  hut  with  their 
presence !  "  I  laid  peculiar  stress,  by  way  of  accent,  on  the  word 
"  unmannerly,"  and  in  a  moment  I  saw  the  field  was  in  my  hands. 

"  Yes,  gentlemen,"  continued  I,  "  I  comprehend  very  well  both 
your  duty  and  responsibility ;  but,  now  that  I  see  you  are  calmer, 
have  the  kindness  to  say  in  what  I  am  to  blame?  Did  you  not 
come  here  to  "  blockade  "  New  Sestros,  with  a  brig  and  provisions 
for  half  a  year  ?  And  do  I  prevent  your  embarkatioD,  if  you  can 
find  any  Krooman  willing  to  take  you  on  board  ?  Nay,  did  either 
of  you  apprise  me,  as  is  customary  when  folks  go  visiting,  that 
you  designed  leaving  my  quarters  at  so  early  an  hour  as  to  afford 
me  the  pleasure  of  seeing  every  thing  in  order  for  your  accommo- 
dation ?  Come  now,  my  good  fellows.  New  Sestros  is  mi/ flagship, 
as  the  Bonito  is  yours  !  No  body  stirs  from  this  beach  without 
the  wink  from  its  Commodore ;  and  I  shall  be  much  surprised  to 
hear  such  excellent  disciplinarians  dispute  the  propriety  of  my  rule. 
Nevertheless,  as  you  feel  anxious  to  be  gone  on  an  independent 
cruise,  you  shall  be  furnished  with  a  canoe  instanter  !  " 

"  An  offer,"  interjected  the  surgeon,  "  which  it  would  be  d — d 
nonsense  to  accept !  Have  done  with  your  infernal  sneering,  Don 
Teodor;  strike  your  flag,  Mr.  Lieutenant;  and  let  the  darkies 
bring  in  the  breakfast !  " 


368  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

I  have  narrated  this  little  anecdote  to  show  that  Spanish  sla- 
vers sometimes  ventured  to  have  a  little  fun  with  the  British  lion, 
and  that  when  we  got  him  on  his  haunches,  his  mouth  full  of  beef 
and  his  fore  paws  in  air,  he  was  by  no  means  the  unamiable  beast 
he  is  described  to  be,  when,  in  company  with  the  unicorn,  he 
goes 

"  a-figliting  for  the  crown  I  " 


TWENTY    YZARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  369 


CHAPTER   LIX. 

The  balance  of  life  vibrated  considerably  on  the  African 
coast.  Sometimes  31r.  Bull's  scale  ascended  and  sometimes  the 
Slaver's.  Tt  was  now  the  turn  of  the  former  to  be  exalted  for  a 
while  by  way  of  revenge  for  my  forced  hospitality. 

Our  friends  of  the  Bonito  held  on  with  provoking  pertinacity 
in  front  of  my  factory,  so  that  I  was  troubled  but  little  with  com- 
pany from  Cuba  for  several  months.  At  last,  however,  it  became 
necessary  that  I  should  visit  a  neighboring  colony  for  supplies, 
and  I  took  advantage  of  a  Russian  trader  a^ong  the  coast  to  efl'ect 
my  purpose.  But  when  we  were  within  sight  of  our  destination, 
a  British  cruiser  brought  us  to  and  visited  the  '•  Galopsik."  As 
her  papers  were  in  order,  and  the  vessel  altogether  untainted,  I 
took  it  for  granted  that  Lieutenant  Hill  would  make  a  short  stay 
and  be  off  to  his  "Saracen."  Yet,  a  certain  "slave  dock,"  and 
an  unusual  quantity  of  water-casks,  aroused  the  officer's  suspicions, 
so  that  instead  of  heading  for  our  port,  we  were  unceremoniously 
favored  with  a  prize  crew,  and  ordered  to  Sierra  Leone ! 

I  did  not  venture  to  protest  against  these  movements,  inas- 
much as  I  had  no  interest  whatever  in  the  craft,  but  I  ventured 
to  suggest  that  "  as  I  was  only  a  passenger,  there  could  be  no  ob- 
jection to  my  landing  before  the  new  voyage  was  commenced." 

"  By  no  means,  sir,"  was  the  prompt  leTplj,  ^^  your  presence 
is  a  material  fact  for  the  condemnation  of  the  vessel/'''  lu- 
16* 


370  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

deed,  I  soon  found  out  that  I  was  recognized  by  some  of  the  Kroo- 
men  on  the  cruiser,  and  my  unlucky  reputation  was  a  hole  in  the 
bottom  of  our  Russian  craft ! 

At  Sierra  Leone  matters  became  worse.  The  Court  did  not 
venture  to  condemn  the  Russian,  but  resolved  on  ordering  her  to 
England  ;  and  when  I  re-stated  my  reasonable  appeal  for  release, 
I  was  told  that  I  must  accompany  the  vessel  on  her  visit  to  Great 
Britain. 

This  arbitrary  decision  of  our  captors  sadly  disconcerted  my 
plans.  A  voyage  to  England  would  ruin  New  Sestros.  My  bar- 
racoons  were  alive  with  blacks,  but  I  had  not  a  month's  pro  visions 
in  my  stores.  The  clerk,  temporarily  in  charge,  was  altogether 
unfit  to  conduct  a  factory  during  a  prolonged  absence, — and  all 
my  personal  property,  as  well  as  Don  Pedro's,  was  at  the  hazard 
of  his  judgment  during  a  period  of  considerable  difficulty. 

I  resolved  to  take  '•  French  leave." 

Three  men  of  war  were  anchored  astern  and  on  our  bows.  No 
boats  were  allowed  to  approach  us  from  shore ;  at  night  two  ma- 
rines and  four  sailors  paraded  the  deck,  so  that  it  was  a  thing  of 
some  peril  to  dream  of  escape  in  the  face  of  such  Arguses.  Yet 
there  was  no  help  for  it.  I  could  not  afiFord  an  Admiralty  or 
Chancery  suit  in  England,  while  my  harracoons  were  foodless  in 
Africa. 

No  one  had  been  removed  from  the  Russian  since  her  seizure, 
nor  were  we  denied  liberty  of  motion  and  intercourse  so  long  as 
suspicion  had  not  ripened  into  legal  condemnation.  The  captain, 
by  birth  a  Spaniard,  was  an  old  acquaintance,  while  the  steward 
and  boatswain  were  good  fellows  who  professed  willingness  to  aid 
me  in  any  exploit  I  might  devise  for  my  liberty. 

I  hit  upon  the  plan  of  a  regular  carouse ;  and  at  once  decided 
that  my  Spanish  skipper  was  bound  to  keep  his  birth-day  with 
commendable  merriment  and  abundant  grog.  There  was  to  be 
no  delay ;  one  day  was  as  good  as  another  for  his  festival,  while 
all  that  we  needed,  was  time  enough  to  obtain  the  requisite  sup- 
plies of  food  and  fluid. 

This  was  soon  accomplished,  and  the  "  fatted  pig  "  slaugh- 
tered for  the  feast.     As  I  never  left  home  unprovided  with  gold, 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AX    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  371 

means  were  not  A^anting  to  stock  our  pantry  with  champagne  as 
well  as  brandy. 

Every  thing  went  off  to  a  charm.  We  fed  like  gluttons  and 
drank  like  old-fashioned  squires.  Bumper  after  bumper  was 
quaffed  to  the  captain.  Little  by  little,  the  infection  spread,  as  it 
always  does,  from  the  ward-room  to  the  cabin,  and  "  goodfellow- 
ship "  was  the  watchword  of  the  night.  Invitations  were  given 
and  accepted  by  our  prize  crew.  Bull  and  the  Lion  again  relaxed 
under  the  spell  of  beef  and  brandy,  so  that  by  sundown  every  lip 
had  tasted  our  eau  de  iz>,  and  watered  for  more.  The  "  first 
watch  "  found  every  soul  on  board,  with  the  exception  of  our  cor- 
poral of  marines,  as  happy  as  lords. 

This  corporal  was  a  regular  "  character;  "  and,  from  the  first, 
had  been  feared  as  our  stumbling-block.  He  was  a  perfect  mar- 
tinet ;  a  prim,  precise,  black-stock'd,  military.  Miss  Nancy.  He 
neither  ate  nor  drank,  neither  talked  nor  smiled,  but  paraded  the 
deck  with  a  grim  air  of  iron  severity,  as  if  resolved  to  preserve 
his  own  "  discipline  "  if  he  could  not  control  that  of  any  one  else. 
I  doubt  very  much  whether  her  Majesty  has  in  her  service  a  more 
dutiful  loyalist  than  Corporal  Blunt,  if  that  excellent  functionary 
has  not  succumbed  to  African  malaria. 

I  hoped  that  something  would  occur  to  melt  the  corporal's 
heart  during  the  evening,  and  had  prepared  a  little  vial  in  my 
pocket,  which,  at  least,  would  have  given  him  a  stirless  nap  of 
twenty-four  hours.  But  nothing  broke  the  charm  of  his  spell- 
bound sobriety.  There  he  marched,  to  and  fro,  regular  as  a  drum 
tap,  hour  after  hour,  stiff  and  inexorable  as  a  ramrod ! 

But  who,  after  the  fall  of  Corporal  Blunt,  shall  declare  that 
there  is  a  living  man  free  from  the  lures  of  betrayal  ?  And 
yet,  he  only  surrendered  to  an  enemy  in  disguise  ! 

"  God  bless  me,  ct)rporal,"  said  our  prize  lieutenant,  "  in  the 
name  of  all  that's  damnable,  why  don't  you  let  out  a  reef  or 
two  from  those  solemn  cheeks  of  yours,  and  drink  a  bumper  to 
Captain  Gaspard  and  Don  Teodor  ?  You  ain't  afraid  of  cider^ 
are  you  ?  " 

"  Cider ^  captain?  "  said  the  corporal,  advancing  to  the  front 
and  throwing  up  his  hand  with  a  military  salute. 


372  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 


1 


"Cider  and  be  d — d  to  you!"  returned  the  lieutenant. 
"  Cider — of  course,  corporal;  what  other  sort  of  pop  can  starving 
wretches  like  us  drink  in  Sary-loney?  " 

"  Well,  lieutenant,"  said  the  corporal,  "  if  so  be  as  how  them 
fizzing  bottles  which  yonder  Spanish  gentleman  is  a  pourin  down 
is  only  cider  ;  and  if  cider  ain't  agin  rules  after  *  eight  bells ; ' 
and  if  you,  lieutenant,  orders  me  to  handle  my  glass, — I  don't 
see  what  right  I  have  to  disobey  the  orders  of  my  superior !  " 

"  Oh  !  blast  your  sermon  and  provisos,"  interjected  the 
lieutenant,  filling  a  tumbler  and  handing  it  to  the  corporal,  who 
drained  it  at  a  draught.  In  a  moment  the  empty  glass  was  re- 
turned to  the  lieutenant,  who,  instead  of  receiving  it  from  the 
subaltern,  refilled  the  tumbler. 

"  Oh,  I'm  sure  I'm  a  thousand  times  obliged,  lieutenant," 
said  Blunt,  with  his  left  hand  to  his  cap,  "  a  thousand,  thousand 
times,  lieutenant, — but  I'd  rather  take  no  more,  if  it's  all  the 
same  to  your  honor." 

"  But  it  ain't,  Blunt,  by  any  means  ;  the  rule  is  universal 
among  gentlemen  on  ship  and  ashore,  that  whenever  a  fellow's 
glass  is  filled,  he  must  drink  it  to  the  dregs,  though  he  may  leave 
a  drop  in  the  bottom  to  pour  out  on  the  table  in  honor  of  his 
sweetheart ;- — so,  down  with  the  cider  !  And  now  Blunt,  my  boy, 
that  you've  calked  your  first  nail  head,  I  insist  upon  a  bumper 
all  round  to  that  sweetheart  you  were  just  talking  of!  " 

"  Me,  lieutenant  ?  " 

"  You,  corporal  !  " 

"  I  wasn't  talking  about  any  sweetheart,  as  I  remembers, 
lieutenant ; — 'pon  the  honor  of  a  soldier,  I  haven't  had  no  such  a 
thing  this  twenty  years,  since  one  warm  summer's  afternoon, 
when  Jane " 

"  Now,  corporal,  you  don't  pretend  to  contradict  your  superior 
officer,  I  hope.  You  don't  intend  to  be  the  first  man  on  this  ship 
to  show  a  mutinous  example  !  " 

"  Oh  !  God  bless  me,  lieutenant,  the  thought  never  entered 
my  brain !  " 

But  the  third  tumbler  of  champaigne  did,  in  the  apple-blos- 
som disguise  of  "  cider  ;  "  and,  in  half  an  hour,  there  wasn't  an 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AX    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  373 

odder  fifjure  on  deck  than  the  poor  corporal,  whose  vice-like  stock 
steadied  his  neck,  though  there  was  nothing  that  could  make  him 
toe  the  plank  which  he  pertinaciously  insisted  on  promenading. 
Blunt  the  immaculate,  was  undeniably  drunk ! 

In  fact, — though  I  say  it  with  all  possible  respect  for  her 
Majesty's  naval  officers,  ivJiile  on  duty, — there  was,  by  this  time, 
hardly  a  sober  man  on  deck  or  in  the  cabin  except  myself  and 
the  Spanish  captain,  who  left  me  to  engage  the  prize-officer  in  a 
game  of  backgammon  or  dominoes.  The  crew  was  dozing  about 
the  decks,  or  nodding  over  the  taffrail,  while  my  colleague,  the 
boatswain,  prepared  an  oar  on  the  forecastle  to  assist  me  in  reach- 
ing the  beach. 

It  was  near  midnight  when  I  stripped  in  my  state  room, 
leaving  my  garments  in  the  berth,  and  hanging  my  watch  over 
its  pillow.  In  a  small  bundle  I  tied  a  flannel  shirt  and  a  pair 
of  duck  pantaloons,  which  I  fastened  behind  my  neck  as  I  stood 
on  the  forecastle  ;  and  then,  placing  the  oar  beneath  my  arm,  I 
glided  from  the  bows  into  the  quiet  water. 

The  night  was  not  only  very  dark,  but  a  heavy  squall  of  wind 
and  rain,  accompanied  by  thunder,  helped  to  conceal  my  escape 
and  free  the  stream  from  sharks.  I  was  not  long  in  reaching  a 
native  town,  where  a  Krooman  from  below,  who  had  known  me 
at  Gallinas,  was  prepared  for  my  reception  and  concealment. 

Next  morning,  the  cabin-boy,  who  did  not  find  me  as  usual 
on  deck,  took  my  coffee  to  the  state-room,  where,  it  was  supposed, 
I  still  rested  in  comfortable  oblivion  of  last  night's  carouse. 
But  the  bird  had  flown  !  There  were  my  trunk,  my  garments, 
my  watch, — undisturbed  as  I  left  them  when  preparing  for  bed. 
There  was  the  linen  of  my  couch  turned  down  and  tumbled  dur- 
ing repose.  The  inquest  had  no  doubt  of  my  fate  : — I  had  fallen 
overboard  duiing  the  nighty  and  was  doubtless,  by  this  time, 
well  digested  in  the  bowels  of  African  sharks  !  Folks  shook 
their  heads  with  surprise  when  it  was  reported  that  the  notorious 
slaver,  Cauot,  had  fallen  a  victim  to  mania  dpotu! 

The  report  of  my  death  soon  reached  shore  ;  the  British 
townsfolk  believed  it,  but  I  never  imagined  for  a  moment  that 
the  warm-hearted  tar  who  commanded  the  prize  had  been  de- 
ceived by  such  false  signals. 


374  CAPTAIN    CANOT  j    OR, 

During  eight  days  I  remained  hidden  among  the  friendly  ne- 
groes, and  from  my  loop-hole,  saw  the  Russian  vessel  sail  under 
the  Saracen's  escort.  I  was  not,  however,  neglected  in  my  con- 
cealment by  the  worthy  tradesmen  of  the  British  colony,  who 
knew  I  possessed  money  as  well  as  credit.  This  permitted  me 
to  receive  visits  and  make  purchases  for  the  factor}',  so  that  I 
was  enabled,  on  the  eighth  day,  with  a  full  equipment  of  all  I 
desired,  to  quit  the  British  jurisdiction  in  a  Portuguese  vessel. 

On  our  way  to  New  Sestros,  I  made  the  skipper  heave  his 
main-yard  aback  at  Digby,  while  I  embarked  thirty-one  "  dar- 
kies," and  a  couple  of  stanch  canoes  with  their  Kroomen,  to 
land  my  human  freight  in  case  of  encountering  a  cruiser. 

And  well  was  it  for  me  that  I  took  this  precaution.  Night 
fell  around  us,  dark  and  rainy, — the  wind  blowing  in  squalls,  and 
sometimes  dying  away  altogether.  It  was  near  one  o'clock  when 
the  watch  announced  two  vessels  on  our  weather  bow  ;  and,  of 
course,  the  canoes  were  launched,  manned,  filled  with  twenty  of 
the  gang,  and  set  adrift  for  the  coast,  ere  our  new  acquaintances 
could  honor  us  with  their  personal  attention.  Ten  of  the  slaves 
still  remained  on  board,  and  as  it  was  perilous  to  risk  them  in 
our  own  launch,  we  capsized  it  over  the  squad,  burying  the  fel- 
lows in  its  bowels  under  the  lee  of  a  sailor's  pistol  to  keep  them 
quiet  if  we  were  searched. 

Our  lights  had  hardly  been  extinguished  in  cabin  and  binna- 
cle, when  we  heard  the  measured  stroke  of  a  man-of-war  oar. 
In  a  few  moments  more  the  boat  was  alongside,  the  officer  on 
deck,  and  a  fruitless  examination  concluded.  The  blacks  be- 
neath the  launch  were  as  silent  as  death  ;  nothing  was  found  to 
render  the  "  Maria  "  suspicious  ;  and  we  were  dismissed  with  a 
left-handed  blessing  for  rousing  gentlemen  from  their  bunks  on 
so  comfortless  a  night.  Next  morning  at  dawn  we  reached  New 
Sestros,  where  my  ten  lubbers  were  landed  without  delay. 

But  our  little  comedy  was  not  yet  over.  Noon  had  not 
struck  before  the  ''  Dolphin  "  cast  anchor  within  hail  of  the 
"  Maria,"  and  made  so  free  as  to  claim  her  for  a  prize  !  In  the 
darkness  and  confusion  of  shipping  the  twenty  slaves  who  were 
first  of  all  despatched  in  canoes,  one  of  them  slipped  overboard 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  375 

with  a  paddle,  and  sustained  himself  till  daylight,  when  he  was 
picked  up  by  the  cruiser  whose  jaws  we  had  escaped  during  the 
night !  The  negro's  story  of  our  trick  aroused  the  ire  of  her 
commander,  and  the  poor  "  Maria  "  was  obliged  to  pay  the  for- 
feit by  revisiting  Sierra  Leone  in  custody  of  an  officer. 

There  were  great  rejoicings  on  my  return  to  New  Sestros. 
The  coast  was  full  of  odd  and  contradictory  stories  about  our 
capture.  When  the  tale  of  my  death  at  Sierra  Leone  by  drown- 
ing, in  a  fit  of  drunkenness,  was  told  to  my  patron  Don  Pedro, 
that  intelligent  gentleman  denied  it  without  hesitation,  because, 
in  the  language  of  the  law,  "  it  proved  too  much?''  It  was  possible^ 
he  said,  that  I  might  have  been  drowned  ;  but  when  they  told 
him  I  had  come  to  my  death  by  strong  drink,  they  declared  what 
was  not  only  improbable,  but  altogether  out  of  the  question. 
Accordingly,  he  would  take  the  liberty  to  discredit  the  entire 
story,  being  sure  that  I  would  turn  up  before  long. 

But  poor  Prince  Freeman  was  not  so  clever  a  judge  of  nature 
as  Don  Pedro.  Freeman  had  heard  of  my  death;  and,  imbued 
as  he  was  with  the  superstitions  of  his  country,  nobody  could 
make  him  credit  my  existence  till  he  despatched  a  committee  to 
my  factory,  headed  by  his  son,  to  report  the  facts.  But  then,  on 
the  instant,  the  valiant  prince  paid  me  a  visit  of  congratulation. 
As  I  held  out  both  hands  to  welcome  him,  I  saw  the  fellow  shrink 
with  distrust. 

"  Count  your  fingers  !  "  said  Freeman. 

"  Well,"  said  I,  "  what  for  ? — here  they  are — one — two — 
three — four — five — six — seven — eight — nine — ten  !  " 

"  Good — good  !  "  shouted  the  prince,  as  he  clasped  my  digits. 
"  White  men  tell  too  many  lies  'bout  the  commodore  !  White 
man  say,  John  Bull  catch  commodore,  and  cut  him  fingers  all 
ofl",  so  commodore  no  more  can  '  makee  book '  for  makee  fool  of 
John  Bull  1  "  Which,  being  translated  into  English,  signifies 
that  it  was  reported  my  fingers  had  been  cut  off  by  my  British 
captors  to  prevent  me  from  writing  letters  by  which  the  innocent 
natives  believed  I  so  often  bamboozled  and  deceived  the  cruisers 
of  her  Majesty. 

During  my  absence,  a  French  captain,  who  was  one  of  our 


376  CAPTAIN    CANCT  ;    OR, 

most  attentive  friends,  had  left  a  donkey  which  he  brought  from 
the  Cape  de  Verds  for  my  especial  delectation,  by  way  of  an  oc- 
casional promenade  a  clieyal!  I  at  once  resolved  to  bestow 
the  "  long-eared  convenience  "  on  Freeman,  not  only  as  a  type, 
but  a  testimonial ;  yet,  before  a  week  was  over,  the  unlucky 
quadruped  reappeared  at  my  quarters,  with  a  message  from  the 
prince  that  it  might  do  well  enough  for  a  bachelor  like  me,  but 
its  infernal  voice  was  enough  to  cause  the  miscarriage  of  an  en- 
tire harem,  if  not  of  every  honest  woman  througljout  his  juris- 
diction !  The  superstition  spread  like  wildfire.  The  women 
were  up  in  arms  against  the  beast ;  and  I  had  no  rest  till  I  got 
rid  of  its  serenades  by  despatching  it  to  Monrovia,  where  the 
dames  and  damsels  were  not  afraid  of  donkeys  of  any  dimen- 
sions. 


I 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  377 


CHAPTER    I^X. 

It  was  my  habit  to  employ  at  New  Sestros  a  clerk,  storekeeper, 
and  four  seamen,  all  of  whom  were  whites  of  reliable  character, 
competent  to  aid  me  efficiently  in  the  control  of  my  barracoons. 

One  of  these  sailors  died  of  dropsy  while  in  my  service;  and, 
as  I  write,  the  memory  of  his  death  flashes  across  my  mind  so 
vividly,  that  I  cannot  help  recording  it  among  the  characteristic 
events  of  African  coast- life. 

Sanchez,  I  think,  was  by  birth  a  Spaniard  ;  at  least  his  per- 
fect familiarity  with  the  language,  as  well  as  name  and  appear- 
ance, induced  me  to  believe  that  the  greater  part  of  his  life  must 
have  been  spent  under  the  shield  of  Saint  lago.  The  poor  fel- 
low was  ill  for  a  long  time,  but  in  Africa,  existence  is  so  much  a 
long-drawn  malady,  that  we  hardly  heeded  his  bloated  flesh  or 
cadaverous  skin,  as  he  sat,  day  after  day,  musket  in  hand,  at  the 
gate  of  our  barracoon.  At  last,  however,  his  confinement  to  bed 
was  announced,  and  every  remedy  within  our  knowledge  applied 
for  relief.  This  time,  however,  the  summons  was  peremptory : 
the  sentence  was  final;  there  was  no  reprieve. 

On  the  morning  of  his  death,  the  suff"erer  desired  me  to  be 
called,  and,  sending  away  the  African  nurse  and  the  two  old  com- 
rades who  watched  faithfully  at  his  bedside,  explained  that  he 
felt  his  end  approaching,  yet  could  not  depart  without  easing  his 
soul  by  confession  ! 


378  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    Oil, 

"  Here,  Don  Teodor,"  said  he,  "  are  five  ounces  of  gold — 
all  I  have  saved  in  this  world, — the  lees  of  my  life, — which  I 
want  you  to  take  care  of,  and  when  I  am  dead  send  to  my  sister, 
who  is  married  to ,  in  Matanzas.     AVill  you  promise  ?  " 

I  promised. 

"  And  now,  Don  Teodor,"  continued  he,  "  I  must  confess  !^'' 

I  could  not  repress  a  smile  as  I  replied. — "  But,  Jose,  I  am 
no  padre,  you  know  ;  a  chrigo  is  no  part  of  a  slave  factory  ;  I 
cannot  absolve  your  sins  ;  and,  as  for  my  j^;?-a?/er5,  poor  fellow, 
alas  !  what  can  they  do  for  your  sins  when  I  fear  they  will  hardly 
avail  for  my  own  !  " 

"  It's  all  one,  mi  coqntan^''  answered  the  dying  man ;  "  it 
makes  not  the  least  difference,  Don  Teodor,  if  you  are  a  clergy- 
man or  any  thing  else  ;  i#  is  the  law  of  our  church  ;  and  when 
confession  is  over,  a  man's  soul  is  easier  under  canvas,  even  if 
there's  no  regular  padre  at  hand  to  loosen  the  ropes,  and  let 
one's  sins  fly  to  the  four  winds  of  heaven.  Listen, — it  will  be 
short. 

"  It  is  many  years  since  I  sailed  from  Havana  with  that  no- 
torious   slaver,    Miguel  ,  whose   murder   you  may  have 

heard  of  on  the  coast.  Our  vessel  was  in  capital  order  for  speed 
as  well  as  cargo,  and  we  reached  Cape  Mount  after  a  quick  voyage. 
The  place,  however,  was  so  bare  of  slaves,  that  we  coasted  the 
reefs  till  we  learned  from  a  Mesurado  Krooman  that,  in  less  than 
a  month,  the  supply  at  Little  Bassa  would  be  abundant.  We 
shipped  the  savage  with  his  boatman,  and  next  day  reached  our 
destination. 

"  Miguel  was  welcomed  warmly  by  the  chiefs,  who  offered  a 
choice  lot  of  negroes  for  a  portion  of  our  cargo,  inviting  the  cap- 
tain to  tarry  with  the  rest  of  his  merchandise  and  establish  a 
factory.  He  assented ;  our  brig  was  sent  home  with  a  short 
cargo,  while  I  and  two  others  landed  with  the  captain,  to  aid  in 
the  erection  and  defence  of  the  requisite  buildings. 

"  It  did  not  take  long  to  set  up  our  bambio  houses  and  open 
a  trade,  for  whose  supply  Miguel  began  an  intercourse  with  Cape 
Mesurado,  paying  in  doubloons  and  receiving  his  merchandise  in 
vessels  manned  by  American  blacks. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  379 

"  Our  captain  was  no  niggard  in  housekeeping.  Bountiful 
meals  every  day  supplied  his  friends  and  factory.  No  man  went 
from  his  door  hungry  or  dissatisfied.  When  the  colonists  came 
up  in  their  boats  with  goods,  or  walked  the  beach  from  the  Cape 
to  our  settlement,  Miguel  was  always  alert  with  a  welcome.  A 
great  intimacy,  of  course,  ensued  ;  and,  among  the  whole  crowd 
of  traffickers,  none  were  higher  in  our  chief's  estimation  than  a 

certain   T ,  who   rarely  visited   the  barracoo7is  without  a 

gift  from  Miguel,  in  addition  to  his  stipulated  pay. 

"  In  due  time  the  brig  returned  from  Havana,  with  a  cargo 
of  rum,  tobacco,  powder,  and  a  box  of  doubloons ;  but  she  was 
ordered  to  the  Cape  de  Yerds  to  change  her  flag.  In  the  interval, 
the  Mesurado  colonists  picked  a  quarrel  with  the  Trade-Town 
chiefs,  and,  aided  by  an  American  vessel,  under  Colombian  colors, 
landed  a  division  of  colonial  troops  and  destroyed  the  Spanish 
barracoons.* 

"  The  ruin  of  a  Spanish  factory  could  not  be  regarded  by  our 
captain  with  any  other  feeling  than  that  of  resentment.  Still, 
he  manifested  his  sensibility  by  coolness  towards  the  colonists, 
or  by  refraining  from  that  2J''<^'fitable  welcome  to  which  they  had 
hitherto  been  accustomed.  But  the  Monrovians  were  not  to  be 
rebuffed  by  disdain.  They  had  heard,  I  suppose,  of  the  box  of 
doubloons,  and  Miguel  was  "  a  good  fellow,"  in  spite  of  his  fri- 
gidity. They  were  kis  friends  for  ever,  and  all  the  harm  that  had 
been  done  his  countrymen  was  attributable  alone  to  their  Colom- 
bian foes,  and  not  to  the  colonists.  Such  were  the  constant 
declarations   of  the    Monrovians,   as    they  came,   singly  and   in 

squads,  to  visit  us  after  the  Trade-Town  plunder.     T ,  in 

particular,  was  loud  in  his  protestations  of  regard  ;  and  such  was 
the  earnestness  of  his  manner,  that  Miguel,  by  degrees,  restored 
him  to  confidence. 

"  Thus,  for  a  while,  all  things  went  smoothly,  till  T 

reached  our  anchorage,  with  several  passengers  in  his  craft, 
boutid.  as  they  said,  to  Grand  Bassa.  As  usual  on  such  visits, 
the  whole  party  dined  with  Miguel  at  four  in  the  afternoon,  and, 

*  The  reader  will  recollect  this  is  not  Caxot's  story,  but  the  sailor's. 


380  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

at  six,  retired  towards  their  vessel,  with  a  gift  of  provisions  and 
liquor  for  their  voyage. 

'•  About  eight  o'clock,  a  knocking  at  our  gates — closed  invari- 
ably at  dark,  according  to  custom — gave  notice  tliat  our  recent 
guests  had  returned.  They  craved  hospitality  for  the  night. 
They  had  dallied  a  couple  of  hours  on  the  beach,  with  the  hope 
of  getting  off,  but  the  surf  was  so  perilous  that  no  Kroomen 
would  venture  to  convey  them  through  the  breakers. 

"  Such  an  appeal  was,  of  course,  enough  for  the  heart  of  a 
courteous  Spaniard, — and,  on  the  coast,  you  know,  it  is  impera- 
tive. Miguel  opened  the  door,  and,  in  an  instant,  fell  dead  on 
the  threshold,  with  a  ball  in  his  skull.  Several  guns  were  dis- 
charged, and  the  house  filled  with  colonists.  At  the  moment  of 
attack  I  was  busy  in  the  barracoon  ;  but,  as  soon  as  I  came 
forth,  the  assailants  approached  in  such  numbers  that  I  leaped 
the  barriers  and  hid  myself  in  the  forest  till  discovered  by  some 
friendly  natives. 

"  I  remained  with  these  Africans  several  weeks,  while  a  canoe 
was  summoned  from  Gallinas  for  my  rescue.  From  thence  I 
sailed  to  Cuba,  and  was  the  first  to  apprise  our  owners  of  the 
piratical  onslaught  by  which  the  factory  had  been  destroyed. 

'•  After  this,  I  made  several  successful  voyages  to  the  coast ; 
and.  at  last,  sauntering  one  evening  along  the  pas eo  at  Havana,  I 
met  Don  Miguel's  brother,  who,  after  a  sorrowful  chat  about  the 
tragedy,  oiFered  me  a  quarter-master's  berth,  in  a  brig  he  was 
fitting  out  for  Africa.     It  was  accepted  on  the  spot. 

"  In  a  month  we  w^ere  oft'  Mesurado,  and  cruised  for  several 
days  from  the  cape  to  Grand  Bassa,  avoiding  every  square- 
rigged  vessel  that  loomed  above  the  horizon.  At  length,  we 
espied  a  small  craft  beating  down  the  coast.  We  bore  the  stran- 
ger company  for  several  hours,  till,  suddenly  taking  advantage 
of  her  long  tack  out  to  sea,  we  gave  chase  and  cut  oft'  her  return 
towards  land. 

"  It  was  a  fine  afternoon,  and  the  sun  was  yet  an  hour  in  the 
sky  when  we  intercepted  the  schooner.  As  we  ran  alongside,  I 
thought  I  recognized  the  faces  of  several  who,  in  days  of  old, 
were  familiar  in  our  factory, — but  what  was  my  surprise,  when 


TWENTY     i'EARS    OF    AN    AFllICAN    SLAVER.  381 

T himself    came    to    the    gangway,  and    hailed    us    in 

Spanish  ! 

"  I  pointed  out  the  miscreant  to  my  comrade,  and,  in  an  in- 
stant, he  was  in  our  clutches.  We  let  the  sun  go  down  before 
we  contrived  a  proper  death  for  the  felon.  His  five  companions, 
double-ironed,  were  nailed  beneath  the  hatches  in  the  hold. 
After  this,  we  riveted  the  murderer,  in  chains,  to  the  mainmast, 
and,  for  better  security,  fastened  his  spread  arms  to  the  deck  by 
spikes  through  his  hands.  Every  sail  was  then  set  on  the  craft, 
two  barrels  of  tar  were  poured  over  the  planks,  and  a  brand  was 
thrown  in  the  midst  of  the  combustible  materials.  For  a  while, 
the  schooner  was  held  by  a  hawser  till  we  saw  the  flames  spread 
from  stern  to  cut-water,  and  then,  with  a  cheer,  aclios  !  It  was 
a  beautiful  sight, — that  auto  da-fe  on  the  sea,  in  the  darkness  ! 

"  My  confession,  Don  Teodor,  is  over.  From  that  day,  I 
have  never  been  within  a  church  or  alongside  a  padre  ;  but  I 
could  not  die  without  sending  the  gold  to  my  sister,  and  begging 
a  mass  in  some  parish  for  the  rest  of  my  soul !  " 

I  felt  very  conscious  that  I  was  by  no  means  the  person  to 
afford  ghostly  consolation  to  a  dying  man  under  such  circum- 
stances, but  while  I  promised  to  fulfil  his  request  carefully,  I 
could  not  help  inquiring  whether  he  sincerely  repented  these 
atrocious  deeds  ? 

"  Ah  !  yes,  Don  Teodor,  a  thousand  times  !  Many  a  night, 
when  alone  on  my  watch  at  sea,  or  in  yonder  stockade,  marching 
up  and  down  before  the  barracooji,,  I  have  wept  like  a  child  for 
the  innocent  crew  of  that  little  schooner ;  but,  as  for  the  mur- 
derer of  Do7i  Miguel —  .' "  He  stared  wildly  for  a  minute  into 
my  eyes — shuddered — fell  back — was  dead  ! 

I  have  no  doubt  the  outlaw's  story  contained  exaggerations, 
or  fell  from  a  wrecked  mind  that  was  drifting  into  eternity  on 
the  current  of  delirium.  I  cannot  credit  his  charge  against  the 
Monrovian  colonists  ;  yet  I  recount  the  narrative  as  an  illustra- 
tion of  many  a  bloody  scene  that  has  stained  the  borders  of 
Africa. 


382  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OKj 


CHAPTER    LXI. 

During  my  first  visit  to  Digby,  I  promised  my  trading  friends — 
perhaps  rather  rashly — that  I  would  either  return  to  their  settle- 
ment, or,  at  least,  send  merchandise  and  a  clerk  to  establish  a 
factory.  This  was  joyous  news  for  the  traffickers,  and,  accord- 
ingly, I  embraced  an  early  occasion  to  despatch,  in  charge  of  a 
clever  young  sailor,  such  stuffs  as  would  be  likely  to  tickle  the 
negro  taste. 

There  were  two  towns  at  Digby,  governed  by  cousins  who 
had  always  lived  in  harmony.  My  mercantile  venture,  however, 
was  unhappily  destined  to  be  the  apple  of  discord  between  these 
relatives.  The  establishment  of  so  important  an  institution  as  a 
slave-factory  within  the  jurisdiction  of  the  j'ounger  savage,  gave 
umbrage  to  the  elder.  His  town  could  boast  neither  of  "  mer- 
chandise "  nor  a  "  white  man  ;  "  there  was  no  profitable  tax  to 
be  levied  from  foreign  traffic ;  and,  in  a  very  short  time,  this 
unlucky  partiality  ripened  the  noble  kinsmen  into  bitter  enemies. 

It  is  not  the  habit  in  Africa  for  negroes  to  expend  their 
wrath  in  harmless  words,  so  that  preparations  were  soon  made  in 
each  settlement  for  defence  as  well  as  hostility.  Both  towns 
were  stockaded  and  carefully  watched  by  sentinels,  day  and  night. 
At  times,  forays  were  made  into  each  other's  suburbs,  but  as  the 
chiefs  were  equally  vigilant  and  alert,  the  extent  of  harm  was  the 
occasional  capture  of  women  or  children,  as  they  wandered  to 
the  forest  and  stream  for  wood  and  water. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  383 

This  dalliance,  however,  did  not  suit  the  ardor  of  my  angry 
favorite.  After  wasting  a  couple  of  months,  he  purchased  the 
aid  of  certain  bushmen^  headed  by  a  notorious  scoundrel  named 
Jen-ken,  who  had  acquired  renown  for  his  barbarous  ferocity 
throughout  the  neighborhood.  Jen-ken  and  his  chiefs  were  can- 
nibals, and  never  trod  the  war-path  without  a  pledge  to  return 
laden  with  human  flesh  to  gorge  their  households. 

Several  assaults  were  made  by  this  savage  and  his  biishmen 
on  the  dissatisfied  cousin,  but  as  they  produced  no  significant 
results,  the  barbarians  withdrew  to  the  interior.  A  truce 
ensued.  Friendly  proposals  were  made  by  the  younger  to  the 
elder,  and  again,  a  couple  of  months  glided  by  in  seeming  peace. 

Just  at  this  time  business  called  me  to  Gallinas.  On  my 
way  thither  I  looked  in  at  Digby,  intending  to  supply  the  dis- 
pleased chieftain  with  goods  and  an  agent  if  I  found  the  establish- 
ment profitable. 

It  was  sunset  when  I  reached  the  beach ;  too  late,  of  course, 
to  land  my  merchandise,  so  that  I  postponed  furnishing  both 
places  until  the  morning.  As  might  fairly  be  expected,  there 
was  abundant  joy  at  my  advent.  The  neglected  rival  was  wild 
with  satisfaction  at  the  report  that  he,  too,  at  length  was  favored 
with  a  "  white-man."  His  "  town "  immediately  became  a 
scene  of  unbounded  merriment.  Powder  was  burnt  without  stint. 
Gallons  of  rum  were  distributed  to  both  sexes  ;  and  dancing, 
smoking  and  carousing  continued  till  long  after  midnight,  when 
all  stole  off  to  maudlin  sleep. 

About  three  in  the  morning,  the  sudden  screams  of  women 
and  children  aroused  me  from  profound  torpor  !  Shrieks  were 
followed  by  volleys  of  musketry.  Then  came  a  loud  tattoo 
of  knocks  at  my  door,  and  appeals  from  the  negro  chief  to  rise 
and  fly.  "  The  town  was  besieged : — the  head-men  were  on  the 
point  of  escaping : — resistance  was  vain  : — they  had  been  be- 
trayed : — there  were  no  fighters  to  defend  the  stockade  !" 

I  was  opening  the  door  to  comply  with  this  advice,  when  my 
Kroomen,  who  knew  the  country's  ways  even  better  than  I,  dis- 
suaded me  from  departing,  with  the  confident  assurance  that  our 
assailants  were  unquestionably  composed  of  the  rival  townsfolk, 


384  CAPTAIN 


1 


•who  had  only  temporarily  discharged  the  bushmen  to  deceive  my 
entertainer.  The  Kroos  insisted  that  I  had  nothing  to  fear.  We 
might,  they  said,  be  seized  and  even  imprisoned ;  but  after  a 
brief  detention,  the  captors  would  be  glad  enough  to  accept 
our  ransom.     If  we  fled,  we  might  be  slaughtered  by  mistake. 

I  had  so  much  confidence  in  the  sense  and  fidelity  of  the 
band  that  always  accompanied  me, — partly  as  boatmen  and  partly 
as  body  guard, — that  I  experienced  very  little  personal  alarm 
when  I  heard  the  shouts  as  the  savages  rushed  through  the  town 
murdering  every  one  they  encountered.  In  a  few  moments  our 
own  door  was  battered  down  by  the  barbarians,  and  Jen-ken, 
torch  in  hand,  made  his  appearance,  claiming  us  as  prisoners. 

Of  course,  we  submitted  without  resistance,  for  although 
fully  armed,  the  odds  were  so  great  in  those  ante  revolver  days, 
that  we  would  have  been  overwhelmed  by  a  single  wave  of  the 
infuriated  crowd.  The  barbarian  chief  instantly  selected  our 
house  for  his  headquarters,  and  despatched  his  followers  to 
complete  their  task.  Prisoner  after  prisoner  was  thrust  in. 
At  times  the  heavy  mash  of  a  war  club  and  the  cry  of  strangling 
women,  gave  notice  that  the  work  of  death  was  not  yet  ended. 
But  the  night  of  horror  wore  away.  The  gray  dawn  crept 
through  our  hovel's  bars,  and  all  was  still  save  the  groans  of 
wounded  captives,  and  the  wailing  of  women  and  children. 

By  degrees,  the  warriors  dropped  in  around  their  chieftain. 
A  palaver-house^  immediately  in  front  of  my  quarters,  was  the 
general  rendezvous ;  and  scarcely  a  bushman  appeared  without 
the  body  of  some  maimed  and  bleeding  victim.  The  mangled 
but  living  captives  were  tumbled  on  a  heap  in  the  centre,  and 
soon,  every  avenue  to  the  square  was  crowded  with  exulting 
savages.  Bum  was  brought  forth  in  abundance  for  the  chiefs. 
Presently,  slowly  approaching  from  a  distance,  I  heard  the 
drums,  horns,  and  war-bells ;  and,  in  less  than  fifteen  minutes,  a 
procession  of  women,  whose  naked  limbs  were  smeared  with  chalk 
and  ochre,  poured  into  the  palaver-house  to  join  the  beastly  rites. 
Each  of  these  devils  was  armed  with  a  knife,  and  bore  in  her 
hand  some  cannibal  trophy.  Jen-ken's  wife, — a  corpulent  wench 
of  forty-five, — dragged  along  the  ground,  by  a  single  limb,  the 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  385 

slirny  corpse  of  an  infant  ripped  alive  from  its  mother's  womb. 
As  her  eyes  met  those  of  her  husband  the  two  fiends  yelled  forth 
a  shout  of  mutual  joy,  while  the  lifeless  babe  was  tossed  in  the 
air  and  caught  as  it  descended  on  the  point  of  a  spear.  Then 
came  the  refreshment^  in  the  shape  of  rum,  powder,  and  blood, 
which  was  quafi"ed  by  the  brutes  till  they  reeled  off,  with  linked 
hands,  in  a  wild  dance  around  the  pile  of  victims.  As  the 
women  leaped  and  sang,  the  men  applauded  and  encouraged. 
Soon,  the  ring  was  broken,  and,  with  a  yell,  each  female  leaped 
on  the  body  of  a  wounded  prisoner  and  commenced  the  final 
.sacrifice  with  the  mockery  of  lascivious  embraces ! 

In  my  wanderings  in  African  forests  I  have  often  seen  the 
tiger  pounce  upon  its  prey,  and,  with  instinctive  thirst,  satiate 
its  appetite  for  blood  and  abandon  the  drained  corpse ;  but  these 
African  negresses  were  neither  as  decent  nor  as  merciful  as  the 
beast  of  the  wilderness.  Their  malignant  pleasure  seemed  to 
consist  in  the  invention  of  tortures,  that  would  agonize  but  not 
slay.  There  was  a  devilish  spell  in  the  tragic  scene  that  fasci- 
nated my  eyes  to  the  spot.  A  slow,  lingering,  tormenting  muti- 
lation was  practised  on  the  living,  as  well  as  on  the  dead  ;  and, 
in  every  instance,  the  brutality  of  the  women  exceeded  that  of 
the  men.  I  cannot  picture  the  hellish  joy  with  which  they  pass- 
ed from  body  to  body,  digging  out  eyes,  wrenching  off  lips, 
tearing  the  ears,  and  slicing  the  flesh  from  the  quivering  bones  ; 
while  the  queen  of  the  harpies  crept  amid  the  butchery  gathering 
the  brains  from  each  severed  skull  as  a  bonne  bouche  for  the  ap- 
proaching feast ! 

After  the  last  victim  yielded  his  life,  it  did  not  require  long 
to  kindle  a  fire,  produce  the  requisite  utensils,  and  fill  the  air 
with  the  odor  of  human  flesh.  Yet,  before  the  various  messes 
were  half  broiled,  every  mouth  was  tearing  the  dainty  morsels 
with  shouts  of  joy,  denoting  the  combined  satisfaction  of  revenge 
and  appetite  !  In  the  midst  of  this  appalling  scene,  I  heard  a 
fresh  cry  of  exultation,  as  a  pole  was  borne  into  the  apartment, 
on  which  was  impaled  the  living  body  of  the  conquered  chief- 
tain's wife.  A  hole  was  quickly  dug,  the  stave  planted  and 
fagots  supplied  ;  but  before  a  fire  could  be  kindled  the  wretched 
17 


386  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

woman  was  dead,  so  that  the  barbarians  were  defeated  in  their 
hellish  scheme  of  burning  her  alive. 

I  do  not  know  how  long  these  brutalities  lasted,  for  I  remem- 
ber very  little  after  this  last  attempt,  except  that  the  bushmen 
packed  in  plantain  leaves  whatever  flesh  was  left  from  the  orgie, 
to  be  conveyed  to  their  friends  in  the  forest.  This  was  the 
first  time  it  had  been  my  lot  to  behold  the  most  savage  develop- 
ment of  African  nature  under  the  stimulus  of  war.  The  butch- 
ery ipade  me  sick,  dizzy,  paralyzed.  I  sank  on  the  earth  benumbed 
with  stupor ;  nor  was  I  aroused  till  nightfall,  when  my  Kroomen 
bore  me  to  the  conqueror's  town,  and  negotiated  our  redemption 
for  the  value  of  twenty  slaves. 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  387 


CHAPTEK    LXII. 

I  HOPE  that  no  one  will  believe  I  lingered  a  moment  in  Digby, 
or  ever  dealt  again  with  its  miscreants,  after  the  dreadful  catas- 
trophe I  have  described  in  the  last  chapter.  It  is  true  that  this 
tragedy  might  never  have  happened  within  the  territory  of  the 
rival  kinsmen  had  not  the  temptations  of  slave-trade  been  offered 
to  their  passionate  natures  ;  yet  the  event  was  so  characteristic, 
not  only  of  slave-war  but  of  indigenous  barbarity,  that  I  dared 
not  withhold  it  in  these  sketches  of  my  life. 

Light  was  not  gleaming  over  the  tops  of  the  forest  next 
morning  before  I  was  on  the  beach  ready  to  embark  for  Gallinas. 
But  the  moon  was  full,  and  the  surf  so  high  that  my  boat  could 
not  be  launched.  Still,  so  great  were  my  sufferings  and  disgust 
that  I  resolved  to  depart  at  all  hazards  ;  and  divesting  myself 
of  my  outer  garments,  I  stepped  into  a  native  canoe  with  one 
man  only  to  manage  it,  and  dashed  through  the  breakers.  Our 
provisions  consisted  of  three  bottles  of  gin,  a  jug  of  water,  and  a 
basket  of  raw  cassava,  while  a  change  of  raiment  and  my  accounts 
were  packed  in  an  air-tight  keg.  Kough  as  was  the  sea,  we  suc- 
ceeded in  reaching  the  neighborhood  of  Gallinas  early  next 
morning.  My  Spanish  friends  on  shore  soon  detected  me  with 
their  excellent  telescopes,  by  my  well-known  cruising  dress  of 
red  flannel  shirt  and  Panama  hat;  but,  instead  of  running  to 


388  CAPTAIN  canot;  or, 

the  beach  with  a  welcome,  they  hoisted  the  black  flag,  which  is 
ever  a  signal  of  warning  to  slavers. 

My  Krooman  at  once  construed  the  telegraphic  despatch  as 
an  intimation  that  the  surf  was  impassable.  Indeed,  the  fact 
was  visible  enough  even  to  an  uninstructed  eye,  as  we  approach 
ed  the  coast.  For  miles  along  the  bar  at  the  river's  mouth,  the 
breakers  towered  up  in  tall  masses,  whitening  the  whole  extent 
of  beach  with  foam.  As  our  little  canoe  rose  on  the  top  of  the 
swell,  outside  the  rollers,  I  could  see  my  friends  waving  their 
hats  towards  the  southward,  as  if  directing  my  movements  towards 
Cape  Mount. 

In  my  best  days  on  the  coast  I  often  swam  in  perilous  seasons 
a  far  greater  distance  than  that  which  intervened  betwixt  my  boat 
and  the  shore.  My  companions  at  Gallinas  well  knew  my  dexteri- 
ty in  the  water,  and  I  could  not  comprehend,  therefore,  why  they 
forbade  my  landing,  with  so  much  earnestness.  In  fact,  their  zeal 
somewhat  nettled  me,  and  I  began  to  feel  that  dare-devil  resistance 
which  often  goads  us  to  acts  of  madness  which  make  us  heroes  if 
successful,  but  fools  if  we  fail. 

It  was  precisely  this  temper  that  determined  me  to  hazard  tho 
bar ;  yet,  as  I  rose  on  my  knees  to  have  a  better  view  of  the  ap- 
proaching peril,  I  saw  the  black  flag  thrice  lowered  in  token  of 
adieu.  Immediately  afterward  it  was  again  hoisted  over  the 
effigy  of  an  enormous  shark  ! 

In  a  twinkling,  I  understood  the  real  cause  of  danger,  which 
no  alacrity  or  courage  in  the  water  could  avoid,  and  comprehend- 
ed that  my  only  hope  was  in  the  open  sea.  A  retreat  to  Cape 
Mount  was  a  toilsome  task  for  my  weary  Krooman^  who  had  been 
incessantly  at  work  for  twenty-four  hours.  Yet,  there  were  but 
two  alternatives, — either  to  await  the  subsidence  of  the  surf,  or 
the  arrival  of  some  friendly  vessel.  In  the  mean  time,  I  eat  my 
last  morsel  of  cassava,  while  the  Krooman  stretched  himself  in 
the  bottom  of  the  canoe, — half  in  the  water  and  half  in  the  glaring 
sun, — and  went  comfortably  to  sleep. 

I  steered  the  boat  with  a  paddle,  as  it  drifted  along  with  tide 
and  current,  till  the  afternoon,  when  a  massive  pile  of  clouds  in 
the  south-east  gave  warning  of  one  of   those  tornadoes  which  de- 


i 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  389 

luge  the  coast  of  Africa  in  the  months  of  March  and  April.  A 
stout  punch  in  the  Krooman's  ribs  restored  him  to  consciousness 
from  his  hydropathic  sleep ;  but  he  shivered  as  he  looked  at  the 
sky  and  beheld  a  token  of  that  greatest  misfortune  that  can  befall 
a  negro, — a  wet  skin  at  sea  from  a  shower  of  rain. 

We  broached  our  last  bottle  to  battle  the  chilling  element. 
Had  we  been  in  company  with  other  canoes,  our  first  duty  would 
have  been  to  lash  the  skifi's  together  so  as  to  breast  the  gusts  and 
chopping  sea  with  more  security ;  but  as  I  was  entirely  alone,  our 
sole  reliance  was  on  the  expert  arm  and  incessant  vigilance  of 
my  companion. 

I  will  not  detain  the  reader  by  explaining  the  simple  process 
that  carried  us  happily  through  the  deluge.  By  keeping  the  canoe 
bow  on,  we  nobly  resisted  the  shock  of  every  wave,  and  gradually 
fell  back  under  the  impulse  of  each  undulation.  Thus  we  held  on 
till  the  heavy  clouds  discharged  their  loads,  beating  down  the  sea 
and  half  filling  the  canoe  with  rain  water.  While  the  Krooman 
paddled  and  steered,  I  conducted  the  bailing,  and  as  the  African 
dipper  was  not  sufficient  to  keep  us  free,  I  pressed  my  Panama  hat 
into  service  as  an  extra  hand. 

These  savage  squalls  on  the  African  coast,  at  the  beginning  of 
the  rainy  season,  are  of  short  duration,  so  that  our  anxiety  quickly 
left  us  to  the  enjoyment  of  soaking  skins.  A  twist  at  my  red 
flannel  relieved  it  of  superabundant  moisture,  but  as  the  negro 
delighted  in  no  covering  except  his  flesh,  an  additional  kiss  of 
the  bottle  was  the  only  comfort  I  could  bestow  on  his  shivering 
limbs. 

This  last  dram  was  our  forlorn  hope,  but  it  only  created  a 
passing  comfort,  which  soon  went  off"  leaving  our  bodies  more  chill 
and  dejected  than  before.  My  head  swam  with  feverish  empti- 
ness. I  seemed  suddenly  possessed  by  a  feeling  of  wild  indepen- 
dence— seeing  nothing,  fearing  nothing.  Presently,  this  died 
away,  and  I  fell  back  in  utter  helplessness,  wholly  benumbed. 

I  do  not  remember  how  long  this  stupor  lasted,  but  I  was 
aroused  by  the  Krooman  with  the  report  of  a  land  breeze,  and  a 
sail  which  he  declared  to  be  a  cruiser.  It  cost  me  considerable 
eff"ort  to  shake  off  my  lethargy,  nor  do  I  know  whether  I  would 


390  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 


1 


have  succeeded  had  there  not  been  a  medical  magic  in  the  idea  of 
a  man-of-war,  which  flashed  athwart  my  miud  a  recollection  of  the 
slave  accounts  in  our  keg  ! 

I  had  hardly  time  to  throw  the  implement  overboard  before 
the  craft  was  within  hail ;  but  instead  of  a  cruiser  she  turned  out 
to  be  a  slaver,  destined,  like  myself,  for  Gallinas.  A  warm  wel- 
come awaited  me  in  the  cabin,  and  a  comfortable  bed  with  plenty 
of  blankets  restored  me  for  a  while  to  health,  though  in  all  likeli- 
hood my  perilous  flight  from  Digby  and  its  horrors,  will  ache 
rheumatically  in  my  limbs  till  the  hour  of  my  death. 

It  was  well  that  I  did  not  venture  through  the  breakers  on  the 
day  that  the  dead  shark  was  hoisted  in  terrorem  as  a  telegraph. 
Such  was  the  swarm  of  these  monsters  in  the  surf  of  Gallinas, 
that  more  than  a  hundred  slaves  had  been  devoured  by  them  in 
attempting  a  shipment  a  few  nights  before  ! 


TWENTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  391 


CHAPTER     LXIII. 

"Don  Pedro  Blanco  had  left  Gallinas, — a  retired  millionnaire  !  '* 
When  I  heard  this  announcement  at  the  factory,  I  could  with 
difficulty  restrain  the  open  expression  of  my  sorrow.  It  confirm- 
ed me  in  a  desire  that  for  some  time  had  been  strengthening 
in  my  mind.  Years  rolled  over  my  head  since, -first  of  all,  I 
plunged  accidentally  into  the  slave  trade.  My  passion  for  a  roving 
life  and  daring  adventure  was  decidedly  cooled.  The  late  bar- 
barities inflicted  on  the  conquered  in  a  war  of  which  I  was  the  in- 
voluntary cause,  appalled  me  with  the  traffic ;  and  humanity  called 
louder  and  louder  than  ever  for  the  devotion  of  my  remaining 
days  to  honest  industry. 

As  I  sailed  down  the  coast  to  restore  a  child  to  his  father, — 
the  King  of  Cape  Mount, — I  was  particularly  charmed  with  the 
bold  promontory,  the  beautiful  lake,  and  the  lovely  islands,  that 
are  comprised  in  this  enchanting  region.  When  I  delivered  the 
boy  to  his  parent,  the  old  man's  gratitude  knew  no  bounds  for 
his  ofi"spring's  redemption  from  slavery.  Every  thing  was  ten- 
dered for  my  recompense;  and,  as  I  seemed  especially  to  enjoy  the 
delicious  scenery  of  his  realm,  he  offered  me  its  best  location  as  a 
gift,  if  I  desired  to  abandon  the  slave  trade  and  establish  a  law- 
ful factory. 

I  made  up  my  mind  on  the  spot  that  the  day  should  come 
when  I  would  be  lord  and  master  of  Cape  Mount ;  and,  nestling 
under  the  lee  of  it8  splendid  headland,  might  snap  my  fingers  at 


392  CAPTAIN    CANOT  ;    OR, 

the  cruisers.  Still  I  could  not,  at  once,  retreat  from  my  estab- 
lishment at  New  Sestros.  Don  Pedro's  departure  was  a  sore  dis- 
appointment, because  it  left  my  accounts  unliquidated  and  my  re- 
lease from  the  trade  dependent  on  circumstances.  Nevertheless, 
I  resolved  to  risk  his  displeasure  by  quitting  the  factory  for  a 
time,  and  visiting  him  at  Havana  after  a  trip  to  England. 


It  was  in  the  summer  of  1839  that  I  arranged  my  affairs  for 
a  long  absence,  and  sailed  for  London  in  the  schooner  Gil  Bias. 
^Ve  had  a  dull  passage  till  we  reached  the  chops  of  the  British 
Channel,  whence  a  smart  south-wester  drove  us  rapidly  towards  our 
destination. 

Nine  at  night  was  just  striking  from  the  clocks  of  Dover  when 
a  bustle  on  deck,  a  tramping  of  feet,  a  confused  sound  of  alarm, 
orders,  obedience  and  anxiety,  was  followed  by  a  tremendous  crash 
which  prostrated  me  on  the  cabin  floor,  whence  I  bounded,  with  a 
single  spring,  to  the  deck.  "  A  steamer  had  run  us  down !  " 
Aloft,  towered  a  huge  black  wall,  while  the  intruder's  cut-water 
pressed  our  tiny  craft  almost  beneath  the  tide.  There  was  no 
time  for  deliberation.  The  steamer's  headway  was  stopped.  The 
Gil  Bias,  like  her  scapegrace  godfather,  was  in  peril  of  sinking; 
and  as  the  wheels  began  to  revolve  and  clear  the  steamer  from 
our  wreck,  every  one  scrambled  in  the  best  way  he  could  on  board 
the  destroyer. 

Our  reception  on  this  occasion  by  the  British  lion  was  not 
the  most  respectful  or  hospitable  that  might  be  imagined.  In  fact, 
no  notice  was  taken  of  us  by  these  "  hearts  of  oak,"  till  a  clever 
Irish  soldier,  who  happened  to  be  journeying  to  Dublin,  invited 
us  to  the  forward  cabin.  Our  mate,  however,  would  not  listen  to 
the  proposal,  and  hastening  to  the  quarter-deck,  coarsely  upbraid- 
ed the  steamer's  captain  with  his  misconduct,  and  demanded  suit- 
able accommodations  for  his  wounded  commander  and  passen- 
gers. 

In  a  short  time  the  captain  of  the  Gil  Bias  and  I  were  con- 
ducted to  the  "gentlemen's  cabin,"  and  as  I  was  still  clad  in  the 


TWEXTY    YEARS    OF    AN    AFRICAN    SLAVER.  393 

thin  cotton  undress  in  which  I  was  embarking  for  the  land  of 
dreams,  when  the  accident  occurred,  a  shirt  and  trowsers  were 
handed  me  fresh  from  the  slop-shop.  When  my  native  servant 
appearc  d  in  the  cabin,  a  shower  of  coppers  greeted  him  from  the 
passengers. 

Next  morning  we  were  landed  at  Cowes,  and  as  the  steward 
claimed  the  restitution  of  a  pair  of  slippers  in  which  I  had  encased 
my  toes,  I  was  forced  to  greet  the  loyal  earth  of  England  with 
bare  feet  as  well  as  uncovered  head.  Our  sailors,  however,  were 
better  off.  In  the  forecastle  they  had  fallen  into  the  hands  of 
Samaritans.  A  profusion  of  garments  was  furnished  for  all  their 
wants,  while  a  subscription,  made  up  among  the  soldiers  and  wo. 
men,  supplied  them  with  abundance  of  coin  for  their  journey  to 
London. 


An  economical  life  in  Africa,  and  a  series  of  rather  profitable 
voyages,  enabled  me  to  enjoy  my  wish  to  see  London,  "  above 
stairs  as  well  as  below." 

I  brought  with  me  from  Africa  a  body  servant  named  Lunes, 
an  active  youth,  whose  idea  of  city-life  and  civilization  had  been 
derived  exclusively  from  glimpses  of  New  Sestros  and  Gallinas. 
I  fitted  him  out  on  my  arrival  in  London  as  a  fashionable  "  tiger," 
with  red  waistcoat,  corduroy  smalls,  blue  jacket  and  gold  band; 
and  trotted  him  after  me  wherever  I  went  in  search  of  diversion. 
It  may  be  imagined  that  I  was  vastly  amused  by  the  odd  remarks 
and  the  complete  amazement,  with  which  this  savage  greeted 
every  object  of  novelty  or  interest.  After  he  became  somewhat 
acquainted  with  the  streets  of  London,  Lunes  occasionally  made 
explorations  on  his  own  account,  yet  he  seldom  came  back  with- 
out a  tale  that  showed  the  African  to  have  been  quite  as  much  a 
curiosity  to  the  cockneys  as  the  cockneys  were  to  the  darkey. 

It  happened  just  at  this  time  that  "  Jim  Crow  "  was  the  rage 
at  one  of  the  minor  theatres,  and  as  I  felt  interested  to  know  how 
the  personification  would  strike  the  boy,  I  sent  him  one  night  to 
the  gallery  with  orders  to  return  as  soon  as  the  piece  was  con- 
cluded. But  the  whole  night  passed  without  the  appearance  of 
17* 


394  CAPTAIN    CANGT  ;    OR, 


my  valet.  Next  morning  I  became  anxious  about  his  fate,  and 
aft